The past 7 weeks has confronted each one of us with challenges that we have not experienced before. The Covit-19 pandemic has a devastating effect on many people in our community, -emotionally, spiritually, socially, and intellectually. Emotionally people feel uncertain, insecure, scared, depressed, downhearted and in fear of the unknown. Spiritually some may rationalise these times as being a punishment of God for our sins, others may be consoled by their faith. Socially we have lost contact with friends and family, and intellectually most of us do not understand the actions and decisions taken by our leaders, and people in general. We are bombarded with information, scenes of violence, good stories and statistics – yes daily statistics which creates fear and anxiety – Many households battle with providing in basic needs and resources and are depending on food parcels and hand-outs from churches and specific organizations. Not being able to share a cup of coffee with a friend and loved one or just simply enjoying their presence, has caused feelings of isolation and despair. People who have lost loved ones are prevented from receiving the support of family and friends – they have to rely on themselves. This is a time where people are in need of friends, caring family members, voices that proclaim hope and a positive message. Sadly, these are exceedingly rare and few. Messages of doom and gloom are more rife.
Shock waves were sent through the community in South Africa when a 3-4-year-old little boy was grabbed by power hungry law enforcement officers, trying to arrest him. A screaming father rushed to rescue his son, who was by that stage close to hysteria. The father was handcuffed and for whatever reason arrested – the little boy, dead scared for the safety of his father. Was there ever any thought given to the trauma which these officers inflicted – trauma which could have a lasting effect on this young child? But there was no consideration for the child, the community – only for the law enforcement officers themselves. This child could hardly have threatened any of these adults. What happened to humanity, understanding, caring, protection? What happened to understanding a child’s world and his exposure to threatening adults and the world in general?
The lock-down has brought about a new family set-up. Parents who have mainly had contact with their spouses and children in the mornings and evenings, now need to adjust in being around one another 24 hours a day. The uncertainties that parents experience about their own work, business, and financial situation, is felt in most homes. The children become witnesses to these stressors and they again are exposed to uncertainties. In many homes gender-based violence occurs – during the first three weeks of lock down call centres received more than 120000 calls for help. Children become the spectators of aggression and destruction – an insecure and uncertain world in which their own life is also threatened. Adults often have the opportunity to seek help from social services or the police – children are often left without any choice – they are dependent on their parents’ behaviour, choices, and decisions. Often being left voiceless.
In the past it was easier to raise children within the community. There was a stage when the community was an ally, a resource where members were role models and examples. The community was governed by family-friendly laws and support. Children were safe in the community – they were able to grow and develop within the secure structures of laws and rules that guided their development and growth. Raising children was aimed at nurturing the potential of a special human being, entrusted to our care. That was in the past ……..
Children currently in need of help are welcome to get in touch with us at Family Corner. We would love to speak to you in private or via electronic media. Concerned family members are also invited to contact us – we are here to offer you a shoulder to lean on, during these uncertain times.
Contact us at Family Corner for support and care. Dagmara