After undertaking the Tehila safeguarding training in Lusaka, Agness and Josephine were nervous about how they were going to get this new message across to their friends and family. With everything they already do for Dignity, it was hard for them to see how they were going to be able to fit it in. They explained that in their communities, in various spaces, they simply do not talk about children. They do not see the importance of them. Often, if adults want to have a discussion, they would ask the child to leave. Even in Life Groups, if the children began to gather around them, they are shooed away.
However, at the recent EQUIP training where they met with their colleagues and Dignity UK team, they had the opportunity to discuss and explore the ideas together. As well as what had been learnt about safeguarding, the teams were introduced to Love Your Children, a practical, group Bible study resource that has been prepared especially for Life Groups by a team of volunteers. Love Your Children focuses on how God sees children and what that means for us and the children around us.
Suddenly, things became much clearer. It became much easier to understand ways in which Life Groups could champion children in their communities. There was a deep sense of hope in what they had learned: they realised that this is not a new message, but something that deepens the work Dignity is already doing.
Through these training sessions, they learned about the importance of children. And more importantly, the importance of children to God and how well they are loved by him. They became excited about the ways they could supervise and care for their own children.
“Oh! God wants us to do this!”
They learned a new, practical approach to looking after children and young people to decrease their suffering. Things like welcoming them into discussions and allowing them to listen to Life Group meetings. Even simple things like being intentional about telling your children where you are going if you’re leaving the home and not asking strangers to look after them.
“I will start with my own children before I take it to my friends.”
Although they are still nervous about telling people about these ideas when they get back home, they have come to learn that they can talk about the training in their Life Groups and first approach their friends in that space. That it will be easier for parents to embrace because they will be able to take positive action by doing something very simple.
“If I see anyone troubling a child – that is when I am going to start teaching them!”
12 people attended the EQUIP training and we hope and pray that the message will not get lost or forgotten, but will spread across the Life Groups and become an integral part of their DNA. Love Your Children will be available for Life Groups to use in 2020.