Changing Lives: Empowering Children’s Voices
Thank you for your support and thank you for being there, your support provides KTD196 with the confidence to continue to plan effectively and to maximise your support. You are awesome, really.
I want to especially thank all those people who support KTD196 on a monthly basis, by creating a monthly donation program you bring financial stability to KTD196 which in turn enables us to confidently plan effectively throughout the year. Thank you so much for being there.
Last year I spoke a lot about the Children’s Rights Situational Analysis (CRSA) we performed, looking specifically at Child Participation within the family, school and community. Through this long drawn out research we realised that children do not have a voice at any of these levels. The children are not seen or heard.
With our partner Kindernothilfe (KNH), we have prepared a 5year plan, based on the CRSA to address the issue of Child Participation and to create a platform for children’s voices to be heard. Now this is a Children’s Right to be heard, to be listened to, and given the discussions we had with many children and their duty bearers (those who are responsible to ensure children’s voices are heard) we knew this was an area we wanted to change.
Imagine you are 9yrs old boy and have to herd a group of fully grown cows, on your own. That is your job. Apart from the danger aspect of being kicked or gored, how is a 9yr old supposed to keep a dozen cows from wandering away, getting into a neighbours crops, or walking on the road and being struck by vehicles, and yet this is what kids have to do. No one considers the child, his abilities, or his wants.
Imagine you are a 9yr old girl and you have to collect 80litres of water a day from the local stream or if you are lucky enough, a tap. I struggle as an adult to lift 20kgs but to carry 80litres, sometimes walking 2-3kms with each load. Again no one considers the child, her abilities or her wants.
At school we have issues with gang violence, drugs, rape, the children don’t have a voice to share their fears, to have adults listen to the possible solutions children may have, there is nowhere for them to lodge complaints even anonymously, so that teachers who meter out corporal punishment or exchange sex for grades are reported. The children just have to be quiet, not make a fuss, and take the abuse.
In the communities, each community holds meetings but children are not allowed to participate. They are bullied by community members frequently for being foreign nationals, or if they are considered stupid, slow learners, or come from poor families. Again there is no recourse for the children. No one protects the children.
Through the CRSA we identified all of these issues and KTD196 has determined we want to address the issue of lack of child participation within the home, school and community. In fact, we have already started. This week Elizabeth and Rosemary has started training a group of parents in Journey of Life and Children’s Rights for 3days. During this training the parents will be tasked to communicate with their children, to really listen to what their children are saying, they will understand their roles as duty bearers and how to assist the children to find their voices.
Often we find that parents say their children are disrespectful towards their parents, in reality parents don’t listen to their children, call them names, belittle them, chase them, are rude to them. Through this training, as a starting point, we are going to change the lived experience of many children, once we have the parents on side, we will use the parents to assist us with changing the way in which schools and the local communities operate. It will be an ongoing process over 5yrs.
Ultimately, we want children to use their voices, to be heard and have adults act upon their concerns, this is a huge task, but through this process, we will reduce abuse experienced at home, school and in their communities. That adults will have compassion, concern and be willing to champion their children to other adults.
I have included the CRSA below in case you are interested. It is a heavy read but I hope you enjoy it. If you have any questions, please feel free to email me on firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you once again for your support, you mean the world to us and our kids.
Download CRSA Keep The Dream196