Last week the team in Zambia embarked on another Safe Places programme with 8 new church partners in an area of Lusaka called Chelstone.
In this safe environment three participants raised some personal child protection issues that they are facing. (All names have been changed in order to protect the privacy of those concerned).
Pastor Ruth had asked her children what made them feel unsafe (a homework requirement on day 1 of the course) and was told that they did not feel safe around the ‘maid’ (a common term used in Zambia to refer to a lady who is employed to work in someone’s home doing housework and childcare). The children explained that this lady treated them harshly, threatened to beat them and forced them to stay out of the house whilst she was working. Since the training our team have made contact with Ruth to check on the welfare of the children and confirm they are not at risk. Ruth has confirmed that the lady has been removed and is no longer working for the family. She appreciated us taking the time to call her and says the action she took was as a direct result of the training she had received from us. No criminal offences were disclosed and it is likely that prompt action has helped reduce risk to the children in this case.
Eve, another participant disclosed to one of our female facilitators that she was defiled (raped) by her Uncle and his friend when she was aged 3 (she is now 18). She has never received support to deal with her trauma and the incident was never reported to police as her family dismissed it as a “Mistake”. Muchindu, one of the Tehila Team will be carrying out follow up work to support this lady to access counselling and assistance if needed to go through the police and court processes.
Finally we are investigating the welfare of a young boy who was referred by a church leader, also a participant.
We are so grateful that the course has allowed these situations to come to light. Please be praying for the children or victims involved in these situations and for safety of the Tehila team on the ground as they provide support.
Have a good week
Han and the team X