By Sr. Marie Sakina Kataluka, community in Tikondane, Malawi
As you are all aware Tikondane care for Children on/off the streets is one of our MSOLA projects which we are proud of. It was started in 1998 as a response to a new development in Malawi of the growing number of children living and beginning to live in the streets.
Tikondane aimed at protecting and empowering vulnerable, marginalized children who are living and exposed to street life as well as those living in a hostile social environment.
We advocate for their cause in fostering a spirit of justice, healing and reconciliation; thus, promoting children’s development to their full potential as persons created in the image of God.
This year Tikondane is celebrating 25 years of service to vulnerable and marginalized children. Tikondane staff and the board of governors has planned to celebrate the 25th anniversary throughout this year. Indeed, we’re currently preparing for this important event that will take place at Tikondane on September 2. But before then, we have several activities to accomplish for this cause.
Therefore, on 22nd March 2023 we officially launched the Tikondane silver jubilee with a Eucharistic celebration at our Transit shelter. The Main celebrant was father Augustine Katundu the Mtima Woyera Dean who was delegated by the Archbishop of Lilongwe since he could not himself attend the Mass due to various reasons. Fr. Augustin was accompanied by 5 other priests. Although some did not show up, we were around 180 people. It was a simple event, with a Eucharistic celebration, some speeches from the dean, from a representative from the government (District Social welfare) and from Tikondane Project Coordinator (Sr. Marie Sakina). We also had some activities (drama, songs and dances) prepared by Tikondane children and staff. And at the end we shared a meal together.
The opening Mass was the beginning of a journey that will take us to 2nd September 2023 when the 25 years will be celebrated. This journey is an opportunity for us to create awareness about the work of Tikondane, and thus make it visible and known to many people as well as create awareness about children’s rights. It is also to share the best practices to the public, and call upon all stakeholders and parents/guardians to take in hand their responsibility of protecting children from harm and abuse.
This is in view of having a just, loving and caring society in which all people are fully involved in the care and protection of all children and young people.
Therefore, after the launching Mass we planned to go to some selected parishes to create awareness about children’s rights and protection.
So far, we have gone to 4 parishes and we are planning to go to 12 churches 10 Catholic and 2 non-Catholics. In all the parishes we were given some minutes to share about Tikondane, about children’s rights and protection distributed our annual reports and newsletters. In some parishes we got some clothes for the children and some money. Apart from going to parishes we are planning to have other activities such as:
- Radio and TV programs to talk about Tikondane works and children rights.
- A video documentary and a song to make Tikondane and its work known
- Road shows in which we go to different places in town to speak about Tikondane and children’s rights and share some leaflets, among other things.
Protecting children has always been Tikondane’s first priority. Throughout the 25 years Tikondane is committed to promoting safety, welfare and rights of children and ensure that children are reintegrated into a safe environment that provides them with care, security, happiness, love and understanding.
Tikondane is also involving the primary duty bearers, the parents/guardians in finding a solution to the problems that children face. We provide parental skills to them so as to enable them to understand the children and support them adequately.
Dear sisters wherever we are, in whatever we do let us act together in protecting children, through creating awareness and networking. The more people are informed the fewer victims there will be. Every child deserves a life free from abuse, neglect, violence and exploitation.