Last week the Tehila team in Zambia were privileged to facilitate a FOLLOW-UP DAY with our new church partners in Garden compound. The purpose of our FOLLOW-UP DAY is for the Tehila Team and participants to look at what action participants have taken to make their churches and communities safer for children.
We want to say a huge thank you and appreciation to all 13 CHURCH PARTNERS who have been working hard since their Safe Places training six weeks ago. Working hard to implement their action plans to keep children safe.
Representatives from the following 13 churches attended the training:
- 12 Child Protection Officers have been appointed
- Child protection information has been shared with a further 8 churches
- 5 churches have developed and adopted a Code of Conduct (behavior guidelines for adults when working with children)
- 6 churches have established Child Protection Committees to discuss and make decisions on cases of child protection.
- 6 churches have met with the Victim Support Officers at the local Garden police station
- 7 churches have facilitated child protection training and awareness events
- 5 churches have facilitated training for children – equipping them with knowledge around child abuse and protective behaviours.
- 3 churches have met with other community leaders in Garden
- 1 church has established a clear procedure for reporting cases of child abuse
- 2 churches are developing a counselling service and pastoral care for victims of child abuse
- 1 church has created a procedure for assessing and managing risks to children in the community.
This action is impressive and encouraging.
We also heard testimonials about the impact these actions are already having on individual children.
“A Sunday school teacher was identified as behaving inappropriately with children in the area of physical discipline. The children reported this and as a result, the teacher has been suspended whilst further investigations are ongoing.”
“A boy from the community turned up at our church, frightened to go home as he had lost some money and his mother was threatening that she would beat him if the money was not found. Our child protection officer has visited the family home to advocate on behalf of the boy.”
“A 14 year old girl was discovered to be in a relationship with a married man. Our Child Protection Officer has visited the family and involved the child protection committee. The case is ongoing and we have agreed to take the matter to the police.”
“A 13 year old girl was reported missing from home and later found sleeping within a wall fence of the neighbouring property. I visited the same girl, interviewed her and the child disclosed that she ran away as she is scared of her mother and the way she is treated by her. We are committed to work with this family to attempt to resolve the situation”
These churches are modelling how change for children can happen, at a grass roots, community level. We look forward to our ongoing walk alongside these churches as they continue to make Garden a safe place for children, one church and one child at a time.
Thank you to all our supporters in the UK and beyond. Although the incredible and inspiring people in GARDEN cannot thank you in person, I know that they are hugely grateful for contributions you have all made to make this possible. We are literally ‘protectingchildren together’
Have a good week
Han and the team xx