Trial separation

At the end of October, Sergio and I had a trial separation…….. when Sergio had to travel to South Africa to renew visas with the Action Team and I had to give some PEPE training in Chimoio, a town near to the Zimbabwe border. This was the first time that I would drive outside of Beira and without Sergio by my side. So with some trepidation, I set off on the journey with the children. With thanks to God, we arrived safe and well in Chimoio.

I spent three mornings teaching on child protection to 27 people who were training to be PEPE teachers.

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It was a great opportunity to speak about child protection to people who have never had training on it before. Training is based on the child protection policy that was written for PEPE. We spoke about dangers to children and why it is important to protect the children in our care. In the training, we discussed good code of conduct of teachers, how to create a safe physical space for children, certain policies like drop off and pick up and photos/videos, as well as positive reinforcement and how to deal with challenging behavior.

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There is an activity that we do in every training to teach about different forms of abuse. I put signs around the room, each with a different category of abuse and I give a scenario that could happen in PEPE. The students then move to the form of abuse they think relates to the scenario. For example, “it rains a lot and the roof falls in”. This is highly possible in Mozambique when Churches are not built like Churches in the UK, and there are times when it rains very heavily. We explain that it could be an accident when the roof falls in with unexpected high winds and heavy rain. However, if someone knows that the roof isn’t very stable and needs fixing and does nothing about it, that then becomes negligence. Other scenarios emphasize the need for an enclosed space to prevent children leaving the venue and other people coming in that could cause harm to the children.  These are issues that are obvious and embedded into us in the UK, but this isn’t the case in Mozambique. Most people understand the dangers but don’t necessarily think of the consequences and take precautions to prevent the children from being hurt.

This is training that focuses on how teachers can protect children in PEPE, but it’s much more than that. The students also reflect on what this information means to them personally, in their homes and in their community. So our prayer is that lives will be transformed through learning about child protection and that the people that work in PEPEs will be able to show the love of God in a more effective way through the way they treat the children and provide a safe and secure place where the children will develop and thrive.

At the end of that week of training, the course finished and it was time for the graduation.

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Here is a photo of me with the graduates.

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Now these teachers are ready, it means more PEPEs will be opening and serving children in communities in Chimoio, where there are currently no PEPEs. We give thanks to the Churches that decided to serve God and the community in this way.

After the graduation, we made our way back home to Beira and apart from nearly running out of diesel, we made it back safe and sound to Beira and reunited with Sergio.