As it was clear that the annual residential Children’s Conference would not be able to go ahead in January 2021 due to Covid restrictions, staff at UWCM decided that they would run 4 x smaller, 2 day conferences for 25 x teenagers from 4 different communities between 13th and 30th December 2020. Each of these was followed by a 1 day training for 30 parents/guardians from each of the communities so that they could share skills of how to handle teenagers both at home, in church and in society.
Over the 2 days they covered topics such as: children’s rights and responsibilities; life skills and decision making criteria; self esteem; abstinence for teenagers plus daily Bible study, worship and prayer. On the last day, each young person received a gift of 2Kg sugar, 1 kg bar of soap and a packet of salt to take home as a Christmas gift for their families. They were very excited as they received the packing saying, “I was not expecting this. God is good. Our parents will be very happy upon receiving these items.”
As you can see from the comments below, the conferences were a huge success and UWCM would like to hold more over the coming year.
- One of the young people (Benard), during his vote of thanks appreciated the whole program and topics taught which gave him confidence to face the future while trusting God. He thanked all the facilitators for their time and skilful training to the children. Benard expressed himself in English and this made his grandfather very happy, because he was also in attendance at the closing ceremony! He said, “Now I know I have not wasted my school fees on Benard!”
- The young people were happy for the teachings and freely expressed their concerns which they asked us to share with their parents for understanding during the parenting sessions. Such concerns were:
- My mother is so harsh and cannot wait to listen to me talk. She addresses us at home by difficult and abusive language and names that sometimes make me feel like running away from home!
- Our parents never provide basic needs for us and this troubles us so much!
- One of the local leaders said, “Much as I am a leader representing my people, I had no knowledge about the rights of children so I am very grateful for the teaching on children rights and responsibilities. I request UWCM to extend this service of imparting knowledge to all leaders in my area”, she asked.
- One parent who is a church leader asked UWCM to consider giving more sessions to the youth in his church if possible. He was grateful to be a host for the children and parents’ conference.
- “This is my first time to attend a conference. I did not know that even at my age I could attend any training!” (A female participant).