MY MOTHER NO LONGER BEATS ME, WE TALK.
Patson* is a fifth-grade pupil and the fourth born in a family of six children. He has a twin sister and four other siblings. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Patson’s father was a truck driver while his mother was doing cross border trading but they have since both lost their source of income. The parents are facing the strain of losing an income in a difficult economic environment. Being on separation, the situation is worsened now as they have to cater for the needs of two separate households. Patson’s mother went with him to the Save the Children’s Parenting Without Violence training where they took part in joint and separate parenting sessions.
Patson*’s story in his own words
“I know that Save the Children is an organization that teaches people to stop beating children. I know of some children in my community that are no longer being beaten because Save the Children spoke to their parents. My mother is the one who took me to the meetings that Save the Children held. From these meetings, I learnt how to interact with my parents as well as how to interact with my friends. At the meeting, they spoke about the dangers of violence against children. I saw the parents who attended the meetings were willing to stop beating their children but instead talk more kindly to them.
Before the meetings, I used to be quite disobedient to my parents and they reacted by beating me every time I went against what they said. We never used to talk about our differences and everything ended in beatings or threats of being beaten. I have become more obedient to my parents and other people who are older than me. It is good for parents to talk than to beat children because it shows love.I am happy to be in a home where beating is not the solution. When parents talk to children it is easy to understand the instruction the parents are trying to communicate. I recently forgot to go for football training and in the past, such a mistake would have got me a beating but this time my mum sat me down and spoke to me about why she wanted me to play football. At home, my mother helps me with schoolwork while I also help with cleaning the yard and doing the dishes.
I speak to my friends at school and church about what we learnt from Save the Children. If I had the power to make a change in my community, I would make sure that all parents stop beating their children. I would also like a community where all children have a lot of food and they can go to school and live in a house. I like being in school because I want to become a doctor when I grow up. I was sad when schools closed because of the coronavirus but I am happy now that we have opened. I have learnt that to stay safe from coronavirus, I must wash my hands regularly, wear a face mask and observe physical distance from my friends.”
Martha*’s Story in her own words
“I was among the parents in my community that were invited to take part in parenting sessions. Before taking part in the parenting lessons, I thought the only way to discipline a child was through beating or shouting. I did not know that as a parent, you need to show warmth and care to your child even if they do something wrong. I have seen a lot of positive change between me and my children especially Patson with whom I attended the sessions. When I am speaking to my children, they have now become good listeners. They are also able to let me know what their thoughts are. This was not the case in the past because they feared me due to the beatings I used to give them. I would recommend the parenting lessons to my friends as well as my neighbours because the lessons have been of benefit to me in the way I raise and interact with my children.
I used to depend on travelling to the Tanzania border to buy rice for reselling before the coronavirus came. Since the disease came, things have changed significantly as I have struggled to provide for my children. The money I would make from the rice trade was used to pay for rentals, buy food and pay for school fees. My husband and I are separated and as a single mother, the coronavirus has brought many challenges for me and my family. My husband used to be a truck driver but he lost his job when coronavirus broke out. Although we are separated, he used to send us some money for upkeep but since he lost his job that has not been possible. I used to provide three or four meals in a day to our children but the coronavirus restrictions have made business hard. Even after they removed the restrictions, I am unable to travel because the costs of transport have gone up. I can only send money to someone to buy the rice for me and send it on a bus for me. The coronavirus scares me because I have heard in the news that people are dying from it. It worries because I think of my children who are still young; what would happen to them if I contracted it and I died. Parenting has become hard during these difficult economic times but the training we received from Luapula Foundation and Save the Children have helped us cope a lot better. I have changed the way I raise my children. I positively interact with my children and they can tell me what they are thinking. I have found the lessons useful so I share them with my friends, neighbours and relatives.
I would describe Patson as a calm child compared to his more hyperactive twin sister. By becoming a better parent, I hope I can help him and his siblings to have a better life than I have. I wish for my children to be educated and for them to have careers of their choice. I want them to live well and happily in the future. As a parent, I hope the abuse of children can end in my community. There are a lot of stories of children being raped or killed in my community and other parts of the country. The government must help parents provide children with access to education, clothes, food and shelter because things are hard at the moment because of the coronavirus. For parents, my message is that no matter how difficult things get, they must embrace their children by hugging them even if they seem all grown up.”
Save the Children with the local partner, the Luapula Foundation and financial support from the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland have been implementing the Sungeni Bwino Abana (SBA) Project in Ndola District of the Copperbelt province. The overall goal of the SBA project is to contribute to the realization of children’s protection rights on the Copperbelt Province of Zambia by 2021. This is being achieved through strengthening community child protection systems to prevent and respond to abuse, violence, exploitation and neglect of girls and boys. The project will in 4 years directly reach 1,550 girls, 1,550 boys, 2,398 women and 2,353 men. Indirect beneficiaries will include 3,410 girls, 3410 boys, 6641 women and 6601 men. The SBA project uses the Parenting Without Violence common approach in promoting positive interactions between adults and children.