Country: South Africa
Occupation: Student of Theology
Project name: Program for Emotional and Spiritual Support for the Children in the Esigodini Township Area
All Star Kids Club is a program offered on a weekly basis by theology students of the Lutheran Theological Institute, in collaboration with the Siyabonga community centre, to children aged 7-10 years, living in Esigodini, KwaZulu Natal. Having identified the problem of a growing number of children in South Africa who due to the absence of either one or both parents have to take on adult responsibilities at an early age, thereby often missing out on much of their childhood, the project wants to create a safe space in which children can have fun and at the same time learn about the Christian faith in a child appropriate, playful and creative, way.
- To develop a children’s ministry programme that addresses the emotional and spiritual needs of these children and their particular challenges and questions.
- To foster in contrast to abusive relationships, positive relationships, especially between the children and the male theology students, as role models.
The above mentioned goals were achieved. Firstly, positive relationships with the children were successfully developed. This enabled the children to open up and to share their particular challenges and questions. By taking time for the children and speaking to them about their lives and the challenges they face, it was possible to informally tend to the emotional and spiritual needs of the children. However, the team fell short in reaching the goal of developing an ongoing contextual children’s ministry programme. While the programme generated contextual issues and questions that were addressed, it was not in itself contextual. In future it would be good to spend more time doing ongoing social analysis of the children’s context and then incorporate such contextual issues into the programme, so as to address them from them directly from the start, not only when issues/questions arise during the programme. This would help the children relate to the content of the programme even more.
Successes and challenges
Our programme attracted more children than were planned for, so on any given day there were more children than originally planned. In collabortion with Siyabonga (the children’s center) it was possible to offer each child a meal when they came to the kids club. Strong bonds were formed amongst the leaders (theology students from both UELCSA and ELCSA) as they worked on this project together. This is a positive development in terms of the fostering of good relations which are necessary for future moves towards greater collaboration and unity between both UELCSA and ELCSA.
The main challenge was that of language. The children, while they have an understanding of english, spoke predominantly Zulu, and so the programme which was prepared in english had to be translated into Zulu for them. We had Zulu speaking leaders who successfully took on this task of translation, however the process generally slowed our programme down. One of the major successes was also one of the major challenges, being that more and more children came. Time and resources therefore had to be divided amongst more children.
Each weeks programme comprised of lunch, a children’s bible study, praise and worship singing, a range of games and fun activities, creative craft activities, prayer and occassionaly a puppet show. (in no particular order)
How many people were involved?
What did you learn personally?
We need to have official leadership meetings on a more regular basis. I learnt that I indeed have a passion and gift for working with children and should pursue doing work with children in the future.