Thank you that you prayed, contributed and supported us so that the Walking with Wounded Children (WWWC) course could be presented in various places. A group of tutors have been trained in Singapore in how to train others and it also has been presented at Kylemore outside Stellenbosch in the Western Cape.
At Petra Institute outside White River, it has been presented to 23 participants from South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Burundi (German citizen), England (Ghanaian citizens), Chad and Egypt. The training, culture and context in which of each of these participants work with children, differs. The needs and wants of the children also differ.
Some participants work within South Africa in affluent societies, others work in countries where there is desperate poverty or in war-torn situations in their own countries. There are also South Africans working with child refugees in the Middle East. Some of the participants have shared their experiences of the course with us:
JURITA SAAYMAN – PRETORIA
A CHRISTIAN-BASED COURSE, PRACTICAL, WELL FOUNDED, AND DOES NOT STAND BACK TO ANY ACADEMICAL COURSE
“The fact that the course is so practical means a lot to me, because I feel I go home with aids and tools that I can apply in practice. It’s not like an academic course where you study a lot of theory, but when you sit in front of the child, you still do not know exactly what you should do. Here you go with your aids, and you know exactly what you have to do with the child.
I feel well prepared after the two weeks of teaching, and what is wonderful is that it is a Christian-based course. Something else I valued during the course is the fact that you interact with people of different cultures, because in our context in South Africa we are working with people of different cultures. So we learn a lot from each other and it is practical knowledge that you can apply and share. The fact that the whole model is compiled against the background of academic information, makes it stand alongside academic education. It’s well founded, it is based on sound principles, it does not stand back to any academic course – to tell the truth, after these two weeks, I feel that well equipped because I can use what I have learned.” Jurita has an honors degree in psychology as well as a master’s degree in Pastoral Care. She has done counseling at schools, in the church as well as private counseling.”
WATSON MLAMBO: ZIMBABWE
THE CHALLENGE WE ARE FACING NOW CAN ONLY BE MET IF THE CHILDREN ARE GIVEN THE OPPORTUNITY TO LEAD AND TO BE PART OF THE SOLUTION
Watson Mlambo sits on various chairs: He is an assistant pastor in a church; is an educator of pre-service teachers; also work with children by way of sitting on boards of trustees taking care of street children and vulnerable children.
“The biggest need at the moment, it is what I term vulnerability – children are weak and has many physiological needs. And these are just basic needs that we have physiologically: looking at food, shelter, water, love, etc. All are just basic needs.
My vision is actually based on the needs and the challenges that I see around, especially vulnerable children. I see around me a number of organizations are chipping in to meet aspects of their physical needs. Some orphanages have been put up; some school fees are being paid by organizations. But when these same children go to school, there is a gap in the educational guidance of those children. My background is being an educator – I see that as a great need that they be guided so that they can achieve and succeed in their schooling for a better future.
The Walking with Wounded Children course is a very good course and I can see how it addresses the needs of the children in my country, by training people that can give children the help, support and guidance they need. The fact that we daily applied the skills we learnt in class with children makes this course unique. I discovered that children find their own solutions if we give them the opportunity to tell their stories and we listen to them. So the challenge we are facing now can only be met if the children are given the opportunity to lead and to be part of the solution.
ESTHER TAY (Back, 4th from left)
MORE THAN MY QUESTIONS AND DOUBTS HAVE BEEN ANSWERED
“Before I attended the WWWC course, I was partly looking forward to attending the course because I would get to learn some practical skills, which I might be able to apply when ministering to children. Yet I was also partly wondering how applicable it would be in the Singapore context. Firstly, because the course had originated from South Africa, would it be culturally applicable and secondly, because the course name showed that it was related to ‘Wounded Children, I was wondering if the situation children face in Singapore and in South Africa would be similar. Despite all these, I attended the course and I am so glad that I did.
During the 5-days course, I had the chance to learn many practical skills such as active listening, art/drawing therapy, sandbox therapy, story-telling therapy, the STOP process, etc. We were also given the chance to attempt to apply the skills during the practical aspect of the course.
Throughout the course, my initial questions were answered as I began to realize that the practical skills we had learnt are actually very applicable in Singapore, in fact, not just Singapore, but in any country. Also, I come to realize that these skills are not only applicable to children, but to people of all ages – youths, young adults, adults, even elderly. This is because of the philosophy behind the skills, namely that everyone has a story to share and a voice to be heard, but perhaps more so for children, as their voices are often the ones that are easily ignored.
I learnt that a person does not have to experience something big in his/her life, like the worst possible scenario that we can imagine to be considered as traumatised, but basically, as long as the person had experienced hurt in a way that caused an impact in his/her life – someone whose voice and opinions had always been belittled, someone who does not feel accepted by others, etc.
I have come to learn more about myself too. I always thought that I am a good listener who provides a listening ear to others. Yet through the active listening activity, I learnt that listening actively to a person, is so much more intentional, that one should be focused and attentive to the person who is sharing, and that it is more important about how the person feels than how the listener feels.
There is still so much more that I have learnt and realized during the course, but all in all, God has reminded me throughout the course that as Christians, we are all in a people ministry – that God’s ministry is a people ministry. He has created everyone to love and be loved, that everyone has a story to tell and a voice to be heard. God reminded me not to be so quick to put a label on a person, but to go beyond that face-value judgement, to go beyond the surface and be willing to just stop and listen to him/her, to be willing to walk alongside him/her just as God did with each of us.”
GABRIEL AND CAROLINE BEINDé – CHAD/NIGERIA
THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THE INFLUENCE AND INVOLVEMENT OF PETRA INSTITUTE IN OUR LIVES
Gabriel Beindé is one of Petra Institute’s mainstay mentors that often assist us with training in French speaking countries.
“I thank God for another opportunity to be on the mountain (Petra Mountain) during these two weeks and to learn and hear God’s voice. The partnership between our organization and Petra Institute is very positive because we see the impact Petra had on my life – spiritually, relational and the love we receive. The Institute brought me where I am today. I am grateful to be part of training teams in other countries, because through that I continue to learn and feel part of Petra Institute. Thank you for this investment in our organization and my family and my lives, as well for your encouragement and support.”
Caroline, Gabriel’s wife, could for the first time, attend a course at Petra Institute.
“The course changed my life and I return home with joy, knowledge and skills. This is mainly because here I could process the recent death of our daughter through the love from all here, the training and by sharing our stories with one another. Our daughter had malaria and typhoid fever, but we could not take her to hospital because terrorists were active in our area and there was a curfew on movement. So she died. During the course I experienced how I was released of the pain and how God used you in the process. I learnt from this how to handle challenges, and when I am downhearted, I can talk to the Lord about it. I learnt so much!
As a nurse at a school, I work a lot with children that are traumatized because of problems at home. They come to me for advice. From what I learnt here, I now know how to help them to find healing from their trauma. I also work in a clinic and can apply the same principles with the patients to give hope to those who have lost hope.”
- We are thankful and excited about each of these strong leaders who will, through the new skills and knowledge they have gathered during the course, touch the lives of many children.
- Please pray for their protection where some of them work in dangerous situations. Also pray for wisdom and guidance from the Holy Spirit during each conversation they will have with children and adults that cross their way.
- Please also pray for the participants in Singapore who were trained as tutors. Pray that they will train others with zeal – not only in Singapore, but in many surrounding countries.