Islamic Relief child protection specialists, Leila Fasseaux and Neelam Fida, discuss how our Islam-inspired training is creating positive change for vulnerable children.
Over the last decade or two, the global voice on child protection has gone from strength to strength. However, abuse against children is still happening far too often.
Islamic Relief believes that all children have a right to personal dignity and protection from abuse. We recognise the special responsibility and duty of care we bear to create a safe environment for children within our projects and programmes.
We also believe that everyone has a role to play in keeping children safe, and that an Islamic approach to child protection has the power to dramatically improve the lives of some of the world’s most vulnerable children.
Empowering individuals and communities to safeguard children
As part of our work, we are delivering a comprehensive training programme designed to empower those who work with vulnerable children and their communities – including aid workers, health and social care practitioners, and religious leaders – with the knowledge and skills to safeguard the welfare and dignity of children.
In addition, we are actively encouraging participants to advocate against all forms of child abuse, as a course participant noted: “[The training was] an eye-opener for important issues going on in our everyday life. Child abuse is a sensitive subject to talk about. It developed a more brave side of me.”
Child protection is a subject close to the hearts of many, and with the faith element bringing a deeper dimension, our training creates new learning and practice. It also increases the relevance of our work to many of the communities that we serve. Most important of all, it changes the lives of those we work with – to see change we need to create change!
Training in Jordan and Lebanon
Earlier this year, we delivered our tailored Islamic perspectives on child protection training package in Jordan and Lebanon. Both countries have in recent years seen a significant influx of refugee children from Syria. Many of these youngsters have witnessed or even been victims of violence, may have lost friends and family members to the fighting, and have been uprooted from their homes to face uncertain futures as refugees.
“Very inspiring training – it provided me with insight into child protection issues from a new (Islamic) perspective,” said one participant.
The training was aimed at Islamic Relief staff, many of whom work with Syrian children and families. The five-day course aimed to make sure that our aid workers keep children safe within our programmes.
It equipped participants with core knowledge on child protection, using Islamic understandings and concepts as well as international standards and good practice. Staff now have the tools to mainstream child protection throughout their projects and develop specific programmes to help vulnerable children – who often have a very broad range of needs.
We were very excited to see how engaged participants were, and their passion for child protection. Even in the most challenging situations we are able to make a difference, and so it was great to see staff putting what they learned into action.
“I loved all the verses from the Qur’an that we were given today. I can’t wait to use them in awareness sessions with parents.” (Course participant)
Reaching out in South Africa
We went on to deliver a workshop in South Africa, where child protection challenges include trafficking, ‘gangsterism’, drug abuse, HIV and Aids, and forced marriage.
The training empowered our staff to work with children and communities from diverse backgrounds, enabling them to develop processes and ideas to make their projects safer than ever for children. It also enhanced their confidence in working with the communities more effectively, as one participant described:
“[The training] had a positive impact on my life. I now need to implement the knowledge I gained, sharing it with care workers, parents and guardians so that we can build a more protective environment for our children.”
Participants also developed an advocacy song to promote awareness of HIV and Aids prevention.
Click on an image below to view photos from the training sessions:
Islamic Relief is a policy leader in Islamic humanitarianism, and – as well as mainstreaming child protection across our projects and programmes – child protection, child rights and welfare are amongst the most important areas in which we are pushing for positive social change.