Children are the future of society in that they are tomorrow’s adults who will then mould their families. It is befitting that we look at the challenges they face, especially when their mental safety is under attack.
There is a saying that “A child is like a blanket sheet of paper on which every passer-by makes a mark”. In essence, every child is a product of their environment. All actions carried on around have a bearing on their current behaviour and their comprehension of means to deal with various scenarios in life.
In 2018, Namibia was ranked 7th in Africa for Child Friendliness, an index developed by the United Nations Committee for the rights of the child. This speaks volume of where our country has strived to ensure the wellness of our children. The same report, however, rates Namibia 9th in Africa for child protection.
Yet, despite these seeming victories, almost on a weekly basis, we read reports on crimes inflicted on children or by themselves. 36 children are reported to have committed suicide within the last 3 years. Rapes and assault on this defenceless future of our nation continue unabated.
In order to have a means to tackle the problem, there is a need for a holistic view on what creates this environment for these children. Once these are identified, it becomes easier to develop strategies that will allow for the mitigation and eventual elimination of these tragic events.
There are multiple facets that impact the wellbeing of the Namibian child.
With the advent of the internet, the “game” has evolved. Children are no longer only influenced or impacted from their immediate surroundings. The entire globe is brought within reach of their fingertips, allowing access to vast swathes of information, which cannot always be adequately monitored. Children emulate what they see, and if what they see is negative, that is what they copy.
Migration has increased significantly in the past 30 years, owing to a myriad of push and pull factors. Children find themselves among different people with different beliefs and values.
There is no end in sight for orphans and child headed families, and special mention needs to be made of the Aids pandemic, malaria and cholera outbreak in the face of dwindling resources.
I believe there should be a concerted effort to address these issues in children at an early age. Children are being more exposed to adult emotions at even younger ages; as such, strategies should be developed to tackle this appropriately.
It is of essence that they are exposed to the right information. Career guidance, bridging lessons, remediation skills training, and formal learning classes are some of the options for society to consider. Finally, parents and care givers should be educated on signs to look out for when a child is being troubled. Only through these strategies can this scourge be removed from our land, and our country’s future will be granted a fighting chance to plot and lead Namibia to greater heights.
(Reverend Jan. A. Scholtz is a holder of Diploma in Theology, B-Theo (SA), a Diploma in Youth Work and Development from the University of Zambia (UNZA), Diploma in Education III (KOK), and BA (HED) from UNISA. This article is written in his personal capacity.
2019-11-08 09:15:05 | 8 months ago