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A PASSION FOR KEEPING CHILDREN SAFE

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"My name is Maryana Munyendo and I am passionate about creating awareness about safety especially for children.

I like working with people. I am passionate about making a difference in people’s lives. I also have a passion for wanting to become a good leader for my people. As I grow older age-wise and professionally I have come to realize that neither of these passions required industry specialization.

 Some people’s passion may be tied to a specific industry, like medicine, or law, or science, I fall in the category of those whose passion is tied to a desire, mine is to lead, or to teach, or to help others.

I talked a lot as a child and apparently that’s what you need to be a good lawyer so I was told a lot that I should be a lawyer but my passion for performing arts over the years in formative school took me a different direction.

 I hold a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Communication with a specialization in Public Relations and a Diploma in French Language. In my professional life I have largely been a liaison executive, working as a Personal Assistant.

 A large component of Public Relations training is centered on planning and bringing concepts to life; and that’s the foundation of my work on child personal safety education at Simba-Safe Kenya - to educate, inform and empower children, parents, caregivers and the community as a whole in this key component of life, keeping our children safe.

 How my passion for kids Safety came about…

Hardly a month passes by on Facebook without seeing a picture of a lost child being shared. The pictures of innocence touch my heart and I am always obligated to share them, like most of us do. I still would get the nagging feeling, wondering what may have happened to the child and if something could have been done to prevent it.

 Personal Safety for children in Kenya is not a fully-fledged field, formal schools try to incorporate it but they can only do so much due to their already pressing curriculum.

Holiday camps also try, but they do not cover it exhaustively as it is not in the main agenda, say in the case of a music camp.6997

Organizations like Child Welfare Society Kenya, Childline Kenya, The Cradle and Children's Legal Action Network (CLAN) are doing their best but their efforts can be boosted by looking at preventive measures more than rescue measures and collaborating with them on the same. In essence, there is still much more to be done.

Having worked with a capacity training organization before and coupled with my passion to teach and help others, I got talking to one of my mentors who is a trainer. From this I came to the realization that children face challenging situations every day at home, at school, online, and in their communities.

Sometimes, adults are aware of these issues. Often, they are not. It is important to teach children positive, practical, and effective ways to think, move, and speak to stay safe in challenging personal safety situations.

 About Simba-Safe

The Simba-Safe Program deals with common situations which most children will experience at some stage; for example getting lost, knowing adults who can help, knowing their parents’ details or being approached by strangers and online safety.

6993Simba-Safe also teaches children the safety skills necessary to protect themselves from physical or sexual abuse while encouraging them to tell a trusted adult about any problems they may have.

Our approach is FUN, EDUCATIONAL & ENTERTAINING. The Simba-Safe Program approaches the subject of prevention in a very gentle and non-frightening way using hands-on discovery learning for children through free spontaneous play.

Through various ways we stimulate children so that they can transition from being taught or entertained (passive) to learning through play (active).

Our programs are also tailored to the age appropriate cognitive and learning abilities of children. It is important that children enjoy and look forward to the lessons. If children know that there is something they can do to keep safe, they will feel safer and more confident.

Our Goal

Is to give children the skills necessary to enable them to recognize and resist abuse/ victimization / bullying and abduction.

  •  Education for children around the safe use of technology particularly with regard to mobile phone, internet use etc.
  •  To provide a supportive environment in which parents and guardians can explore the issue of personal safety for their children.
  •  Reinforcing children’s recognition on adult supervision and protection by assisting children in learning to identify adults they can trust who can help them with problems too big for them to handle alone.

Our 24-hour news culture bombards parents with news stories about child abductions or crimes committed against children and it is difficult for parents not to fear the world outside when it comes to our children.6994

Children today have been robbed of their independence and self-confidence, and in turn have failed to develop a hugely important life skill: that of being able to assess risk. 

Protecting our Kids

It is not possible to safeguard children all the time. However, research has shown that children who have been taught safety skills are less likely to be abused. Abusers like to pick on easy targets – those who are not likely to resist or to tell.

 Because children are victimized in every part of the country, each community needs to provide an educational program that better ensures the safety of the children in its area. We all have a role to play in building strong neighborhoods where individuals, families and children are valued and supported.

Some of the basic safety tips I can share with parents include:

a)     Kindergarteners (ages 3 to 5) are inquisitive, but they're focused on themselves. Since they're not apt to be tuned in to the possible motivations of others, they may be easily fooled. Teach your young child simple facts such as her name your name, your workplace and home address.

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b)     Primary school-age children (ages 6 to 9) are concerned with issues of right and wrong and can learn basic safety rules. Since they want to cooperate and to please adults, they may be tricked by a seemingly tempting situation. At this age, children learn best through concrete examples, role-playing, and repetition of rules.  Go on 'walkabouts' with the child. Look out for safer strangers and safer buildings on the way. Your child gets to know your locality and feels confident and at ease.

c)      Tweens and teens (ages 10 and up) become more capable of judging the consequences of a potentially dangerous situation. They are likely to be in unsupervised situations more often and are influenced by their peers, and therefore, they may think they should act "cool." Your child still benefits from ongoing discussions of risks, using real-life situations as examples.

 In future Simba-Safe’s focus is to continuously collaborate with:

 TEACHERS this is a child’s most important instructor with the power to reinforce the skills every day.

PARENTS aspects of the program create a healthy emotional development and will also build trust between parent and child.

 Our job as parents is to prepare our children for life. We can’t wait till they’re adults to start practicing; they need to start now to learn the skills they’ll need to thrive and succeed- including becoming safety conscious.

 

(Would you like to get in touch with Maryana or find out more about Simba-Safe Kenya? Find her contacts below and useful Links)

CONTACT DETAILS

 Maryana Munyendo

TEL: 0715856885

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 Simba-Safe Kenya’s Social Media platforms have daily updates on issues parents and guardians would find interesting in the world of personal safety for children.

FACEBOOK - https://www.facebook.com/simbasafekenya

TWITTER -     https://twitter.com/SimbasafeK

LINKEDIN -    ke.linkedin.com/pub/simba-safe-kenya/a4/734/690/

Contact us today! so we can connect you with mums (women) in the most experiential and engaging way!..both online on our website and page, and offline-through events.

Info@supamamas.co.ke
+254 708 115 132
Darosa Plaza, Karen Road Office No.10