Empowering Community Through Counselling

Selected residents of Mbeyo village received training as counsellors who will assist fellow villagers in tackling child, alcohol and drug abuse, HIVAids and other social and health issues confronting the community.

The training came about after interventions by the civil organization LifelineChildline Namibia, which held meetings at Mbeyo Primary School to zoom in on problems besetting villagers.

“When we came to do interventions at the primary school and in the community we came across a lot of challenges that school kids are facing, among them the high rate of teenage pregnancy and alcohol abuse. Many don’t know their rights as children and thus don’t know what’s entitled to them as well as what is wrong and right, sometimes. Some kids are being kept out of school by their parents to look after cattle, their right to education is being taken away and some face hard labour. If they refuse they are heavily punished by elders, which is abuse. Kids are supposed to play and attend school and a lot of the school-going children at the village are already sexually active. These are some of the challenges we identified that thus led to this training,” said Daniel Olavi from LifelineChildline Namibia. He facilitated the training.

“We do social behaviour change communication programmes at the school, teaching the children self-esteem, personal risk assessment, dangers of alcohol and drug usage, children’s rights and what is child abuse, and it has been going well. Abuse is one of the main problems the children face.

“We came up with the idea to train more community counsellors for free who can help us reach more people,” he said. Said Sindere Rispa, a trainee: “I decided to be part of the training because I see the problems that we face at our village, like some kids don’t go to school, so through this I will be able to approach elders and children to help tackle the issues.” Johannes Ngunde, another trainee, said: “Seeing the suffering of vulnerable kids and orphans in our village, I thought I could be part of the change.” “We want to know how to handle kids, and also how to protect ourselves from men by knowing how to to address men when we are not happy in a relationship to prevent passion-killing amongst us the youth,” said course participant Foibe Hausiku.

Other trainees said they wanted to learn more about how to live with children and notice when there is child abuse.

The one-week training course started last Monday, May 19 and ended on Friday May 23 at Mbeyo village, 60km west of Rundu along the Trans Caprivi Highway.

LifelineChildline.Namibia is a civil society organization that helps children and adults to build emotional resilience and offers free counselling services to all, as well as helps communities deal with social problems.

Source : New Era