In my previous blog I discussed how my life changed with the adoption of 5 children in the 1970s and 80s (from Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Hong Kong and Australia) to join a birth son, and briefly how God took our family to Hong Kong as missionaries. This was the catalyst for my life now as an international trainer, consultant and author of children’s books and training packages, targeting those who work directly with children at risk. I am joined by a wonderful team of 13 volunteers in 8 countries (Australia, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand, USA, India and Macau).
It was the writing of the module Care For Orphans and Vulnerable Children for Crisis Care Training International (USA) that promoted me to consider how He could use my personal parenting and social worker experiences in Australia and Hong Kong, to benefit those who care for God’s most vulnerable…..children at risk! The refugee, orphan, child prostitute, child soldier, child with HIV/AIDS, of abuse, with disabilities and the 8 million institutionalised children!
Many individuals, governments, non-government organisations and ministries, especially in the ‘developing world’, are struggling to come to terms with providing best care practice for these children. While some training is available, it is often targeted to managers, administrators or social workers, and as such is too theoretical and impractical for child caregivers and others who may have limited literacy and and/or child care experience.
Our team’s motto is Child Caregivers are Our Heroes!
Our aim is to support and educate child caregivers and others directly involved with children, by providing skills training and resources, and to ultimately equip national trainers who will conduct training in their own language.
My latest training packages are ‘National Training: Understanding and Responding to God’s Vulnerable Children’ (for churches, ministries) and ‘National Training: Understanding and Responding to Children At Risk’ (governments, non-government organisations).
The modules cover foundational topics related to children in crisis, such as needs and rights of children, loss and grief, care models, communication with children, managing behavior and positive discipline, child development and counseling children in trauma. We use role plays, case studies, and individual, small and large group exercises, culturally contextualized and all planned to be easily understood.
As our ultimate aim is to see the material used by nationals, for nationals, we are training local social workers and others, and the modules are being translated from English into Chinese, Burmese and Thai. I am constantly asked, “Do you have the modules in African French, Hindi or Spanish?”
It took me three years to write the latest training packages. Why do it? Who would want the material? Wasn’t there enough training out there, so why more? God, there is only me (I didn’t have a team then). But I had a real sense of purpose, a burning in my heart and spirit that this is what He wanted me to do!
Now the resources have been used or are being taught in 17 countries, and we have trained over 3000 people in 13 countries. And as I write this blog, I am preparing for our 44th conference, this time in Sabah, Malaysia.
Yes, I am of a ‘mature’ age, but God can and does use us all, male and female, children, adolescents, young adults and seniors, of all nationalities and experiences.
Our team’s prayer is we that are joined by more volunteers; prayer partners, translators, trainers, sponsors and marketing people, all with a heart to make a difference in the lives of the children, by training and supporting their child caregivers.
We know firsthand that the ripples of knowledge go on, and on, and on.