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February 15, 2018

Teachers trained in skills to protect children from various forms of abuse

February 15, 2018

PESHAWAR: A non-governmental organisation, Horizon, arranged a training workshop on “Psychological challenges in teaching and child protection” with an aim to equip the participants with the skills to enable them to play a role in ensuring safe childhood and protecting kids from various forms of abuse.

Although most of the participants were male and female teachers from various schools, mediapersons, bankers, parents of the Army Public School students and minorities members were in attendance as well.

Executive Director of Power 99 Radio, Fakhira Najeeb, representatives of the Pakistan Psychiatric Society and World Psychiatric Association were present at the training hosted by the Ibadat Hospital.

A noted psychiatrist and head of the Horizon, Prof Dr Khalid Mufti, welcomed the participants. He said the training focused on intervention along with awareness-raising. He added that the input received from the audience would of great help to Horizon to arrange a follow-up workshop exclusively for the teachers based on their active feedback.

There were a total of three sessions in the training. The first was on “Mahfooz Bachpan” (safe childhood), second on “Motivational Teaching” and third on “Sports as part of a healthy society”.

Bushra Iqbal was the resource person for the first session. She gave orientation of the concept of safe childhood to the participants along with goal direction. She said safe childhood means protection at home, school and playground or open public spaces.

She shared the data and said that population of less than 19 years age persons in Pakistan was 52 per cent while that of less than 14 was 35 percent.

Bushra drew a comparison of the basic rights given to a child by Islam and those granted under the international laws. She said these were almost the same, including rearing, clothing, education, training, protection and share in inheritance.

She said continuous airing of the violence-based news stories led to creation of sensation in the society in general and children in particular. “The use of cell phones leads children to social isolation and they become used to leading an artificial life. There are a number of online games which can tilt kids to violence,” opined the trainer.

Bushra said there were different roles for all of us to ensure protected childhood. She said as individual role, we should improve ourselves, look after homes, children and other family members.

“We should get friendly with our kids, give them confidence, listen to them, and give them importance. This is the responsibility of parents -mother and father. We should know who they are talking with and what are they watching, etc,” she explained.

Elaborating the collective role, she said that we should create awareness, understand the message and help it spread; help a child or the family if they face any mishap, extend help to each other in a mohallah, school and at local level and get assurance from the political parties that they would formulate child protection policy if voted to power.

The trainees were told to ensure if their children were safe before leaving them to a relative, friend or employee. “Our children are our own responsibility. Parents should closely observe habits, routines and moods of children and be in touch with schools and Madressa. Children should not be harassed and instead consoled,” she argued.

The second session was by Prof Dr Tariq Mufti, a senior medical teacher and principal of Rehman Medical College. Though his topic was “Motivational teaching”, he approached it through child protection and how the teachers could play a role in it. He used the participatory approach to find solutions to the lack of child protection problem.

The professor emeritus conducted two exercises to engage the participants. The first was “Past Recall”. The participants were divided into groups and asked to call to mind the bygone experiences. In the second exercise, he played a video clip. The exercises led the audience to point out various aspects of the child abuse problem and identify solutions.

Dr Tariq Mufti stressed goal-oriented message for child-protection education and practical solutions which were applicable.

The expert said teachers should educate the students on self-protection against various forms of abuse but the education should be within prevalent cultural and social norms.

Dr Tariq Mufti said the teachers should not only impart education but also know how and when to intervene to help a child who is through this situation.

“Child protection should be taken as a shared responsibility. We should look beyond our own families and care for those kids as well who are not related to us,” emphasised the senior doctor who has served as principal of the Ayub Medical College in Abbottabad.

Dr Ali Ahsan Mufti, a young psychiatrist, welcomed the input received from the participants during the earlier sessions. He said the suggestions attained from the participants should be shared with the psychologists, psychiatrists and the specialized health institutions to improve the situation.

“This will help us know if the facilities required for the purpose were available at the health institutions set up for the purpose. This input can be used as guiding lines,” said the budding psychiatrist.

The third session was titled,” Sports as part of the Healthy Society”. A senior journalist, Amjad Aziz Malik, talked on the subject. He dwelt at the importance of games and enumerated the functioning of the Malik Saad Shaheed Sports Trust. Ms Komal and Umar Khwaja, squash players, were present at the session to motivate the audience. Certificates and shields were distributed at the end.