My name is Thembumusa Dlamini from Buhleni, serving under Holiness Union Church Eswatini as a facilitator for Child Protection (Children’s Rights & Responsibilities). I am so grateful to be part of the GCF 30-year celebration.
My first encounter with GCF was in 2016 at Maguga Lodge where the board members and Interact Africa had a conference that paved the way for the training of local facilitators and child protection officers. It was during this seminar that I met my child protection mentors, Monica Woodhouse and Steven Wetton. I had very little knowledge of child protection concepts by then, being a professional teacher who works with children on a day-to-day basis. The presentation of SOCIAL JUSTICE by Monica captured my attention and made me long for more. At the end of that seminar, I was chosen to be trained as a local facilitator, so my four-year training in child protection began.
Felicity and I joined the child protection advocacy under the mentorship of Monica and Steven where I doubled as a Church Leader and School Child Protection Facilitator. I underwent a number of regional workshops from both categories facilitated by the two mentioned, humbled GCF directors. The knowledge I got from the workshops impacted me so much that my attitude changed and I became a skilful Child Protection Facilitator in my country. I had access to training documents, materials and activities produced by GCF that were also applauded by officials of my country as valuable ones. This made working as a Regional Focal Guidance Teacher in the Ministry of Education & Training so easy for me.
In September 2019, I visited the GCF centre in Margate where I met the kind, loving, hardworking and dedicated GCF staff. I was surprised to learn that GCF started small and expanded such magnitude in its programmes and services. Indeed, ‘It is like a mustard seed, which is the smallest seed you plant in the ground….’ (Mark 4:31-32).
Through GCF, we were able to visit one of their foster families and their training centre to learn more about the Foster Care programme. That experience left zeal between Felicity and me, as having such a programme could be good for our church for the benefit of the children facing injustice.
In closure, GCF is CARE POINT, HOPE & FORTRESS to me.