Club settings allow children to fellowship with their mates, enabling them to access safe spaces where they can easily express themselves.
The remarks were made by Tamara Faris, founder of Memory Book for Children International- a non-profit organisation that gifts vulnerable children worldwide with ‘Memory Books’ so that they can learn the truth that God has a loving plan and purpose for their lives.
She was speaking recently at the closure of a four-day conference titled “Global conference 2023,” that was held in Kigali from September 1 to September 4 and was organised by Memory Book for Children International with an aim to equip participants with knowledge on the importance of storytelling in healing and transforming the lives of children.
A total of 40 members of Memory Book clubs from nine African countries were in attendance and most of them are coordinators of Memory Book clubs that provide safe spaces for children from different communities to share their stories, feelings and fears, and rediscover their hopes and dreams.
Faris explained that there is hope that through trainings, more Memory Book clubs will be established in other countries to help bring hope and resilience to children.
Memory Books are booklets containing 50 pages, a pen/glue stick, and elastic closure. Each page is designed to help a child tell their personal life story using words, drawings, poetry, and song.
According to Tamara, every time a child tells the story, they are able to have healing as well as understanding and embracing their own stories.
“Children are loved, accepted and beautiful because God created them for a purpose in life. However, a smiling child can be grieving inside. So, they need to be given opportunities to preserve the stories. Children possess a lot of power, but very few people see value in them,” Tamara pointed out.
She shared that over 18 years they had already experienced amazing stories of healing and hope for children who accessed Memory Book since it helped discover that they are special, they are somebody and unique.
Memory Book founder added that the training helped participants understand the value of investing in the future of children, adding that some of the participants are at the extent to train others to have Memory book clubs in their communities.
Pastor Emmanuel Sitaki Kayinamura , founder and president of ERM Rwanda- a TVET school that supports orphans and children from vulnerable families attended the conference.
He said that the training offered skills to know how to interact with children in a language they can understand.
“Most of the time, some churches do not give more value to children. Yet, giving them attention and love is the only way that opens effective communication and help them believe in themselves and discover their inner ability and rights they deserve as human beings,” he added.
Comforter Akapajeshi Mathews, the coordinator of Memory Book club in Nigeria, said that the gathering helped the participants get strengthened, encouraged and sharpened.
“The children are somebody and we cannot neglect them because there is something inside them. We should love them,” she noted.
Hannah, another participant from Uganda, assured that the Memory Book had been very helpful to children in their psycho-social change.
“Memory Books help children discover that they are somebody, they are special, and they are valued. Every child’s story matters. The book helps us listen and give them chance tell their stories.”
Sharing her personal story, Hannah said that she had lost her mother at the age of eight and that Memory Book helped her to know that she is somebody who is chosen and loved.
“These days, we have identity problems where children do not know who they are. So, in the Memory Book children discover who they are, and their values and their morals are kept,” she added.