Dear friends and family,
Every month Tehila will be posting two blogs. The first will be at the beginning of the month and will give you a sneak preview of what Tehila will be up to during the month. The second will be in the middle of the month and this will be a true account or impact story. A life changed. A survivor who has spoken out. An activist who is making a child’s life safer. A church which is taking action to create safer environments for children. An organisation which is taking its duty to safeguard children to another level. A community platform working together to protect children.
We are excited to be on this journey with you and believe that these regular blog posts will provide you with the information you need to keep updated and inspired with hope.
Today I want to share Jane’s story. I have changed her name and some of the detail in order to protect her identity. But the account is true, based on an actual conversation and facts.
Jane has lived in Lusaka since she was 9 years old. She moved from her home in a rural village to live with her aunt who needed Jane to help care for her baby. Having left her mother and siblings in the village, Jane was mistreated for many years. She was accused of being ‘demon possessed’, ‘mad’ and ‘abnormal’ by her aunt, cousins and the local community. Consequently, Jane grew up feeling very rejected and unloved. She was treated differently to her cousins, missing out on new clothes and having to resort to eating food from the bin.
Despite this traumatic start in life, Jane now runs a small business to raise money for further studies. She attended Tehila Safe Places training to learn more about helping children, as she also serves in her local church as a Sunday school teacher. She stated, “I want to teach children how to handle themselves well and help them to believe that they can grow up and make something of themselves”.
Immediately after the training, Jane came and shared her story. She felt that the Safe Places course had helped her gain a better understanding on how to protect children and had equipped her with knowledge to detect different forms of child abuse. Jane is passionate about finding a job working with children and would like to share what she has learned about protecting children with other adults that she works with, to help them care for children.
She refuses to give up. She knows her siblings back in the village are looking up to their big sister and counting on her. This desire to help her family motivates Jane to keep going and help others along the way. She remarked, “I have not had an easy childhood but one day soon I will look up and smile”.
If Jane refuses to give up, so do we. Tehila’s vision is to see an end to child cruelty and violence in Zambia. We will accept nothing less. Together we will continue to fight the injustice of child abuse and work together to protect children.
Thank you Jane for sharing your story.
I hope it motivates and inspires you as much as it has us.
Love the Tehila Team x