“This teaching has changed me.”
Over and over again, this is the feedback that Celebrating Children Workshop (CCW) Alumni are hearing as they run their own seminars across East Africa. Since October 2020, 16 facilitators have successfully launched 28 seminars in various locations in East Africa. These 16 facilitators have trained 1311 beneficiaries – pastors, teachers, parents, foster families, grandmothers, and Sunday School workers, to name a few. All in all, approximately 26,649 children have been directly impacted by these seminars in only six months!
“This workshop has helped me to see children in a different way, that they are unique and have dignity,” said one participant last month. “I never used to value children before because no one ever valued me. Many times I was made to feel less important, but now after knowing this truth about God’s intentions for the child, I plan to change and treat each child with dignity. My life will never be the same again.”
Happiness is an extremely diligent and dedicated facilitator from Tanzania. She has run five workshops in Tanzania of various lengths since November 2020. A few months after running a seminar at a local church, she spoke with a pastor who attended. He said, “For me when I heard those teachings I decided not to apply them first in the church but first in my own family. One of my sons is 15 years old, I have never appreciated him for anything he has done. So I decided to sit and listen to him – I have never listened to him if he has struggles or challenges in the ministry he does. As I listened and encouraged I noticed that he began to put in more effort to his ministry and was doing an amazing job. I have seen a lot of fruit from listening and encouraging my son – I thought I knew how to parent but I realized that I am not doing a good job. I have come to realize that I need help in my parenting. Now that I have applied it to my family I will teach this in the church. The teaching on listening to children has changed how I will parent.”
Jane Brenda ran seminars last fall and winter. She traveled back to these locations several months later to follow up with several participants. Unfortunately, it was on one of the follow up visits that she was held up at gunpoint. However, this did not deter her from continuing with her seminars! On that same trip, one of her participants told her, “I am [the] mother of four children and a trainer of Hairdressing. I was one of ten students in the workshop and learnt how to handle children and listen to them. Since childhood, I have never experienced love from my parents that’s why I also didn’t have love for my children.”
“After attending two workshops this November and December, my life changed and I started loving, handling and listening to my children and even taking care of my students’ children because some of them are mothers. I was also able to gather a group of women, especially mothers in the community and share with them those teachings. Through my sharings after the training many families in the community have been touched. I would love to attend more CCW training to learn more and help my nation.”
Each of these alumni trainers is a superhero in their own right – juggling their own families and ministries along with a passion to bring this training further into the daily life of their community. Their commitment to the value and dignity of the child, and the conviction that community wholeness begins with the most vulnerable, drives the hard work and careful planning behind each of these amazing testimonies. They know first-hand the powerful change that can happen when we commit to the wellbeing of children and families, and they are willing to do whatever it takes to make sure their communities get there, together.