“I didn’t think much of your program or this issue and I wasn’t too sure if it had any use to us but I allowed you to come out of courtesy. But after sitting here and listening to your presentation and looking at the statistics I have had a dramatic change of thought and I now understand the important work that you’re doing and it is critical that your programs gets our schools full attention, because a small fire can create a huge fire if it’s not recognized”, said Takuilau College principal, Sitani Paulo.
The Stay Safe Program was conducted in two colleges at the Eastern District which were Takuilau College and Tapuni Siliva College.
During the session, staff and students were not only taken through the Stay Safe Program but they were also told about the Centre’s services, Healthy Relationships and the Family Protection Act.
“I hope that we can work together to address these problems because I cannot do it by myself, disciplining and looking after the students. I suggest that one of your counselors can come and be based here for a few days so that we can help the students by talking to them on a one to one basis”, said Tapuni Siliva’s Head Tutor, Rev. Kemueli Tolu.
His comment was supported by the Principal, Lotukalafi Palaki by saying, “it would be ideal if there were a branch of the Centre in the Eastern District, where we can easily and quickly access the Centre’s services, because we really need your help and support.”
“It is very challenging dealing with the students especially at this stage, that’s why we’re asking for your assistance so that we can work together more closely”, the principal added.
This program has been conducted to most of the secondary and tertiary schools in Tongatapu.
There were 326 students altogether, 152 girls and 184 boys with 26 teachers attend, 13 female and 13 male.
A ten year old girl student was so excited with the Women and Children Crisis Centre’s ‘Stay Safe Program by saying, “I will go home and tell my parents about your Centre and tell them to call you if someone needs help because I saw few kids in my neighborhood badly beaten by their parents.”
WCCC conducted an awareness program to two of the Eastern District government primary schools which are Lapaha and Mu’a. This awareness program is one of the Centre’s primary prevention programs on child abuse due to an increase in numbers of cases reported to the Centre.
“This program has been used to tackle a range of issues including child abuse and domestic violence with young children. It aims to build children’s knowledge about child sexual abuse and their capacity to protect themselves include educating them about good and bad touches, sharing secrets, and self-protection strategies such as shouting, insisting on being left alone, threatening to tell or to tell a trusted adult”, said To’ia, WCCC’s community education trainer.
One of the teachers at the Lapaha primary school said, “This is an eye opener especially for us teachers, because during the day from 8:30am to 3:20pm five days a week, these children are under our care with the trust of the parents and we have to make sure that they are safe and secure. You’ve shown us today very simple messages that we didn’t even realize how really important it is to the safety of each child, like the bad and good touches and the 10 safety rules.”
“You’ve enlighten us today and it encourage me and my staff to work more closer with our students and keep reminding them the messages that you share with us today which I think it will be the best everyday guideline to them and it is a challenge for us”, said Mele Topani, Mu’a primary school principal.
The goal of the ‘Stay Safe Program’ is to provide children with information and skills to help them deal with dangerous and abusive situations. The program has been adapted from the Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre Good Touches and Bad Touches.
There were 542 students altogether, 260 girls and 282 boys with 21 teachers attend, 17 female and 4 male.
A BIG MALO ‘AUPTIO TO REV. ‘IKANI VAITOHI AND HIS DAUGHTER MONALISA VAITOHI
The WCCC would like to take this opportunity to thank Rev. ‘Ikani Vaitohi and his family, particularly his daughter Monalisa for the ongoing fundraising and support that they give to the work carried out by the WCCC.
Monalisa and her siblings (Viliami, Benjamin, Viliami, Siale and Fane) out of their fundraising efforts raised TOP$1,000 pa’anga towards the Uniting Scholarship Fund that is an initiative to help with educational and safe house costs for children and young person’s staying at the WCCC Safe House.
Malo ‘Aupito Vaitohi Family and God bless you all.