By EMILY STEPHANS (SALT Team facilitator)
“The biggest change that we have seen in the children thus far”.
The biggest change that I can see in how the children in the various primary schools that we reach out to is how they see themselves, how they see God, and how they see one another. The children that we reach out to are used to only see the “bad things” (gangsterism, poverty, crime, hate, depression). They accept this as there normal everyday life. They can be very negative towards life, and especially towards their peers.
We can see that after working with the kids for an entire term they open up towards us. They are comfortable to ask questions and to believe the stories of hope that we share about our own lives. We also come out of these exact same “negative and hopeless” situations but things have changed for us and now we get to share this with the primary school kids that we face every day.
We teach them the values that we read in the Bible. One of the main issues that we address in the schools is the way that the kids treat one another. This is one of the clear indicators of change.
At the beginning of the year, the kids would show no respect towards one another. After spending an entire term with them we get to build trust with them. These two main things have changed: the children in the classes (about 40 children and one adult per class) listen to us, they talk to us respectfully and they treat one another with respect.
We are in a position to pay closer attention to the spiritual needs of the children and to bring truth, discipline and Godly values into situations because we see them every week. They trust us. If it happens that we notice serious social issues we have definite systems in place to refer the child and make sure he/she is taken care of.