Time flies. Where have the last couple of months gone? My good intentions of writing a blog twice a month seemed to have passed me by during July and August so I apologise for this and hope to capture in the following few words how we are and what we have been up to. In addition we want to share our plans for the next month!
Some highlights for July and August…..
The Tehila team is changing and growing….Social work student Jonathan Vantreek was with us for 14 weeks in July and August. Lauren, a psychology graduate and our new Tehila Administrator Julie Chaka have joined the team. Muna, previously our Tehila bank manager has started volunteering to market and promote Tehila in Zambia. Incredible people with incredible stories of how they came to be at Tehila (we look forward to sharing them with you!).
This month also brought a bit of sadness as we said goodbye to the wonderful Obet, who has been a faithful and committed personal friend of ours and a beloved member of the Tehila team from the beginning. He has travelled to the UK to work in a church in London and pursue his dreams to be a pastor. We already miss him hugely and want to thank and honor him for all he has put into us personally and through Tehila during his time with us, particularly the Touch Talk programme. Love you Obet!
40 churches have completed our Church Mentoring programme and as I write this blog, Misheck is busy studying and compiling an ‘Impact report’ so that we can see the action that has taken place to make their churches and communities safer for children. These churches graduates are now members of the SCAR Network and are ready to work collaboratively on specific child safeguarding initiatives.
Melody (Blessed Family Church) from Matero stated “the children never had a shelter to meet and we had no knowledge of child protection and safety until we went on Safe Places and QIS training. After we were trained, I shared my learning with the pastor and church and we have now put up a safe shelter for Sunday School. There has been an increase in attendance from the children in the community”.
Ennie (Pentacostal Holiness Church) from Matero community says, “I thought child protection was to do with troubled homes but when I did Safe Places and QIS, I realised that children have value and how it is important to provide safe places for them to grow even at church. I now go into the community to hunt out vulnerable children and help them.”
Martin and Hannah facilitated a consultancy programme on child safeguarding with the Centre for Trade Policy and Development (CTPD).
Viva (www.viva.org) programme, the Good Treatment Campaign was co-facilitated by Tehila and the SCAR Network. This campaign contains the basic concepts of engagement with the community by children from within the SCAR network. The program is based around a ‘promise’ adults make to commit to good treatment of children by signing a Promise Card. 146 adults in Ngombe community were interviewed by children and in the process explored how to treat children better. Children were able to understand how they should be treated and were also empowered to advocate for good treatment in their community.
On the back of the Good treatment campaign, 5 children disclosed child abuse, both physical and sexual abuse. Due to their sensitive nature, we cannot give any further information. But know that we are committed in Tehila and the SCAR Network to respond to each child and their story. To fight and advocate for justice. To keep going despite fear and challenges that have already come our way. To be persistent. To be a voice. That is what we are doing. Please pray for these 5 children and their families. Thank God that people have spoken out. The fear of silence is breaking.
As for the rest of the month, we are excited to be holding our long awaiting Training of Trainers event. Approximately 16 people who are interested in volunteering with Tehila will be exposed to our unique and participatory style of training and we will share with them the heartbeat of Tehila. More volunteers means we can reach more children. Exciting.
So for now, we say goodbye and we will update you with an impact story towards the middle of September. Please keep reading. As always, we thank you for your support and prayers.
Hannah and the team xx