“I was spending my life sewing comforters for a living to support my 3 children with my husband. I have always had a place in my heart for the children, especially those living below their means. In my community, if a hungry child came to my house, I would always feed her. God had blessed me with food every night and I was happy to share what I had with any child in need. It hurts my heart when a child tells me he’s hungry, it makes me feel like I am hungry also. So when a local clinic member told me about the group of Christian volunteers going out to care for those in need, I left my sewing behind to join them in becoming a careworker. I worked with several other women who cared about children as much as I did to fundraise so that we could feed the children of our community who needed it the most. We pooled together what we had raised and bought potatoes and machines to make chips to sell, and used the money to buy food parcels and other necessities to give to the children.” –Esther, a careworker from Siphumulilie Community Based Organisation who recently was involved in the Careworker training, Walking with Wounded Children.
Careworkers, such as Esther, have volunteered to care for their communities orphaned and vulnerable children. Often coming from impoverished backgrounds themselves, they live and work among the children they care for, and help them with daily chores, homework, and provide them with mentoring and loving care. Hands at Work aims to equip these careworkers with training to help them in the best possible way, such as Walking with Wounded Children Training. This course will continue to train men and women joined in this work in South Africa until the beginning of March and then in Zambia until the beginning of April.
“I have loved, and still love being a part of these children’s lives. These children are our future; they notice and learn from the environment around them, so it is extremely important to provide the best environment in which they can grow up. We have received essential training in order to care for these children in the best possible way. I love being a part of the Walking with Wounded Children Training, because I know how important it is for a child to have someone to talk to. In this training, I have learned how to reflect facts and emotions and feelings, and understand what it means to have a relationship with a child. I feel that if a wounded child comes to me with a problem, I am confident that I know what to do. A wounded child is a child who has been abused, who has had trauma in her life – sexual abuse, physical trauma – the child is wounded inside. This training has taught me how to lead such a wounded child down a path of healing. The things I have learned in this training are so special to me, and it has shown me ways to solve problems with my orphans in the right way. If I’m sitting with a child who is telling me a story, I will have the ability to create a relationship with this child and be able to make her trust me. I know not to judge her, and I can give her my undivided attention. I will give her time as she is playing to say what is on her heart. I have also learned that while I’m with a child, God is always there, and it’s important to acknowledge that relationship with God when with a child, because God sees her hurts and is always with us.
Hands at Work, partnering with Petra College, brought Walking with Wounded Children Training to desperate communities across South Africa. The training, developed by a team of counsellors and psychologists, equips those who care for children with tools to lead them on a path of healing from any emotional wounds or losses they may have experienced. The training teaches care workers how to develop an intense level of trust with the child, how to recognize signs of abuse, and the importance of allowing a child to tell her story in her own way in order to recover. The first course was held in Mpumalanga, facilitated by Hands at Work representatives and members from Petra College. Fifteen Careworkers from South Africa with servant hearts for children came together for 2 weeks to learn about bringing God’s healing to the children who need it the most. Esther Mgwambi, a careworker who finished the training course on February 17th, was grateful to be part of the training and felt that she could use the knowledge she had gained along with her heart for vulnerable children to make a lasting impact on the children whom she cares for.
“As a careworker, I feel like I am important; like I am something, and I love seeing my children grow up to become something. I love seeing them eating nutritious meals and going to school instead of being hungry street children. I am so proud when we see our children enrolling in university or making wise choices or becoming leaders. I know that God put these special children on my heart for a reason, and I love following what God has called me to do.”