We have been back in Zambia for nearly a month and it has been far too long since we got ourselves in gear to write and share with you how things are going! To be honest, it has been a month like no other. I will explain.
Three years ago, Sam and I made a decision to expand our family through adoption. It has been a long wait but in God’s perfect timing, little two year old Thandiwe joined our family two weeks ago. We will be fostering her for three months with a view to adopt after that. As you can imagine, life is full on and we are protecting our time as a family as we bond and get to know each other. We are excited to be doing what God put on our hearts so many years ago. It would be great if you can be praying for us as we embark on this incredible journey.
Although it took a while to settle this time coming back to Zambia, we are now acclimatized back into life here. I think our extended time in the UK made it a bit tough to re-adapt! One of the decisions we have made is to change the girls school. They are currently being home schooled which is lovely as they are having loads of special time with Thandiwe, but the plan is to put them into an international school in September, finances permitting!
Tehila is progressing well with the church mentoring programme and so far around 20 churches have signed up. This is fantastic news for us and full credit to Duncan for making this happen. Each of these churches have attended the Safe Places training programme and by signing up to the mentoring programme, they are making an additional commitment to take action to meet internationally recognised minimum standards to become child-safe environments. We are so excited that they are on board and we look forward to walking alongside them.
On May 16, we will be hosting a Safe Places for Children Network exploratory meeting. Churches we have trained during our five years including those involved in the mentoring programme, will be invited to attend this event. We will be sharing our vision to establish a city wide network focused on child safety and protection. We know that in order for our work to have the biggest impact and be sustainable, churches and other organisations must work collaboratively together to take action to protect children. We are currently focused on preparing for this event.
Since being back in Zambia, various organisations have approached us, asking for assistance in helping them build the capacity of their child safeguarding. Two private Zambian schools are keen to establish safeguarding policies and equip their teaching staff with child protection knowledge. Tearfund Zambia are also keen for us to build the capacity of their various partners across Zambia, including the staff and girls connected to the girls dormitory in Serenje.
In addition, we are continuing to offer advice on specific child protection issues that arise through our different partners. This keeps us connected to the children we are trying to serve and reminds us daily of the plight of so many in this country and across the world.
Please pray for a 15 year old girl that came to our attention last week. For years she has been suffering sexual abuse at the hands of the landlord of the home in which she lives. Finally she found the courage to tell someone she trusted. The person she disclosed to works for an organisation we regularly support and assist in the area of child safeguarding. This organisation now has sound policies and procedures and has trained most of its staff on how to recognize and respond to abuse. Hence this member of staff knew what to do and acted appropriately to protect this girl. We thank God for this. That this one child has been rescued and the perpetrator reported to the police. Our prayer would be that justice and healing takes place and that more and more children are protected in this way.
So for now, that’s our update and exciting news. We thank you again for your continued support and love. We will be in touch soon.
Han and Sam xx