Hello everyone….

It has been so long since I wrote a blog to you all that I am almost left stumped as to what to write about. So much has happened and happens each day in the life of Tehila, our staff and the children that we serve. It is hard to capture in one sit down!

Most of our communication with supporters over the last few months has tended to be through Facebook and Twitter and we would really encourage everyone to be following us on these social media sites. However, we recognise that not all of our supporters are or want to be on social media and we don’t want these people to in any way feel ‘out of it’ or not able to access all our news.

So, I have decided to re-start the blogs and ensure we can communicate with as many people as possible. Indeed, blogs do allow me that little bit more space to share words and detail about what we are up to. And being a lady with many words (as you will all know!), it feels good to be free not to word count!!

I am not going to say too much about what we have been up to as I have just finalised our annual summary from last year and once this is on our website I will provide you with a link so you can read about our work.

2019 is looking exciting. We are about to launch our NEW and REVISED mentoring programme with 60 churches within the SCAR network. Winnie will walk alongside churches to help them implement minimum standards on child safeguarding. Lauren is about to launch a children’s discipleship programme with children in our church partners. We are excited to continue working with various NGO’s and schools, helping them formulate child protection policies and procedures that are relevant to the Zambian context.

We often let you know who we have trained, how many children will be impacted and the content of our programmes. But how often do we share with you the context in which we train and some of the little challenges we face? In the UK, facilitators generally turn up and deliver the training. The environment is clean, organised, accessible toilets, air-con if needed and refreshments ready in the break. Well this was my experience anyway! Here the situation can be quite different.

Recently, Winnie who heads up our Safe Places programme in churches, shared some of her logistical challenges and I thought of sharing them with you….

“Day 1 – we arrive and the venue is not cleaned or set up for training. We begin to mop and set up. We discover the women’s toilets are flooded due to a leaking pipe that has not been fixed. The toilets are dirty because the cleaner does not feel obliged to clean them. The team spends the rest of the day avoiding the toilets and drinking little water! The breakfast due first thing arrives at 11.30 and then lunch is served 2.5 hours from the scheduled time.

Day 2 – Despite informing churches that everyone must attend both days, others are invited and the number of participants grows by 5. Two people have very little lunch because there are more people than catered for. The women’s toilets are still flooded and breakfast is two hours late. Lunch is on time and everyone loves it!

Day 3 – Breakfast is on time but some of it is burnt so no one wants to eat it. We send it back with the caterer. But no stress because lunch arrives on time and once again everyone loves it! The flooding in the toilet seems controlled but the Tehila team continue to avoid them just in case! Those participants who started on day 2 are very engaged and very excited about the programme despite missing day 1.

Conclusion – Despite all the logistical challenges, our training goals were achieved. There is so much enthusiasm, passion and desire to create safer places for children within the participants. A great training completed once again!”

And this is what I admire about out Tehila Team and the people we are partnering with within the SCAR Network. Often materially things are not glam and logistically things can appear a bit disorganised. However, I have never enjoyed facilitating training as much as I have in Zambia. The teachable spirit, two way learning process, eagerness to engage and get involved, excitement about role plays, enthusiasm, inspiring faith and optimism lights a fire in me. A fire of hope. Hope in humanity. Hope in the good side of people. The side that is willing to make a difference, go beyond ourselves and be the change we want to see.

I love my work. Thank you for walking with us.

Lots of love

Hannah