Jewish World Watch – Updates from the field: Solar Cookers and Backpacks

Greetings JWW!

setting up cooker 4.JPG Today we showed your video to a small group of women in Camp Oure Cassoni. Aziza showed us how to set up the cooker, which she received just a month ago. There are now two solar cookers per block in her Zone (which there are three of). They are just beginning to use them, but still have the need for firewood to cook when there is no sun and in the evening. This camp is unique in that UNHCR provides firewood to the refugees so they do not have to leave the camp in search of it. During the drive between the camp and Bahai, the nearby village, we see hardly any wood at all and what we do see would barely support the local Chadian villages, let alone 27,000 refugees.

rascal with bckpack.JPGAs for the backpacks! It was a great feeling to stumble across two groups of kids returning from school for their morning break carrying the backpacks. They were eager and excited to show them off. One group of boys came running to see what we were all about carrying their backpacks. The other group of girls was a bit more shy, but liked having their pictures taken as well. When asked about the backpacks, the mothers said everyone was excited including the students and especially the teachers. The schools here are the most depressed of any we have seen. Most all are make shift with tarps and loosely built wood frames. The resources that you sent them were quite necessary, and greatly appreciated.

More to come on the situation of schools and solar cookers later in i-ACT and when we return to the US we will create a DVD just for your group!

Katie-Jay keeps i-ACT running on several levels. Much of her work entails coordinating partnerships with other grassroots organizations and implementing the campaigns developed by Gabriel and seeing through the details. She graduated from Portland State University with a BA in Sociology and a focus on Community Development. She has previously worked as a community organizer in Thailand, Guatemala, and with grassroots organizations across the United States.

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6 Responses to “Jewish World Watch – Updates from the field: Solar Cookers and Backpacks”
  1. Rob Hadley says:

    KTJ and Gabriel,

    I am excited that things are working out so much better this time! The situation in the schools of darfur sadden me greatly…but dont surprise me anymore. 5 years of this existance and I stand astonished as to the hope they possess for the future to build schools at all. I just finished the book “The Translator” on my flight back from D.C. and he gave a great sense of the camps from his cultures perspective.
    Are we moving forward on school to school initiatives? I would love to have that be something my students work on this year. Please tell me more of ways we can help in the schools?

    Best of luck and stay safe…be well!

    Rob Hadley

    • Katie-Jay says:

      Greetings Rob!
      Substantially better this time, as we are now in our 5th day visiting the camps! This is the worst I have seen of the school conditions in all of the games I have been to, and it depressed me more than the others, but motivates me even more to ensure that the school to school, or sister schools initiative, takes off. Plans are in the works, the site is getting prepped, and we are beginning to load footage and pictures. So this fall, back by the NBA, your students will be able to participate in the sister schools initiative via the web and helping to raise funds for schools, like these in Oure Cassoni.

      Best, KTJ

  2. Selina Coleman says:

    Hi KTJ and Gabriel,
    I see that not many people have been replying so far and I wanted you to know that you are not far from our hearts and minds. My students from D.H. Stanton Elementary School and I have you and all of the people in Darfur in our thoughts and prayers. Our school year is just beginning to start again and I am sure one of the 1st questions the students will ask me is, “Ms. Coleman, when will the Save Darfur Club meet again?” I appreciate all of the work you both are doing to bring Darfur home to us and connect us with students and families in the refugee camps. I hope to be able to take a trip with you one day. I will actually be starting a master’s program in International Peace and Conflict Resolution this month and my main driving force is peace in Darfur.

    Thanks again and take care,
    Selina Coleman
    Atlanta, GA

    • Katie-Jay says:

      Thank you so much Selina, it means alot to us while we are over here to receive messages from the communities at home. I have with me the letters your students wrote to their penpals, and when I find a good time, place and school, I will pass it on, and your Save Darfur club will be connected to a school here. We will be starting the sister school’s initiative this coming fall, and you will be able to use the internet to connect with the school and through a great new website that i-ACT is working with other groups on!

      Please remain connected with us, and as you move forward in your program!

      Best, KTJ

      • Selina Coleman says:

        Thanks KTJ. The students also sent a check with the letters from some of the money we raised last year. Do you know how that money will be used? Will it go specifically to the school and students that we connect with or will it go into a general fund? Either way is fine with us because we want to help any way we can, I just wanted to be able to give my students an update.

        Take care and continue to be safe,
        Selina

        • Katie-Jay says:

          Hi Selina,
          I will have to check once we get back. My head is not in administrative mode and I don’t have funding docs with me! If you sent the check to USA for UNHCR with SGN in the memo line than it will go to education. But I can check once I get back! There should still be some time before you school is back in session! (but please don’t hesitate to remind me!)
          Peace, KTJ

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