Kind Words Change Childhoods

by Priscilla Chama, ChildFund Zambia

In Zambia’s Kafue district, the Tithandizane community is home to numerous children who come from broken homes or live in child-headed households. Some have never heard a kind or encouraging word. They grow up feeling unloved and, likewise, fail to show love or appreciation to others.

Fortunately, many of them have joined the ChildFund Children’s Committee in Kafue.

Children learn to trust and support peers.

Observing the lack of positive reinforcement in these children’s lives, committee leaders sat down to find a way of reassuring each child just how precious and valuable he or she is.

In the game known as Mutayilepo (“give it to her/him”), each child receives a blank piece of paper on which to write his or her name. The paper is then passed on to other children who are asked to anonymously write on the flipside one good thing they would remember about that particular individual.

At the end of the exercise, the children receive their original piece of paper and read all the good things written about them by their peers. This activity helps children feel appreciated and valued, and they become motivated to develop better relationships with each other.

“I come from a broken home, was abused and totally lacked confidence in myself,” says Auxilia. “After joining the committee and participating in this game, I feel very much appreciated and it has helped me to love myself again.”

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