LILONGWE, NOVEMBER 19, 2019 (CISA)-Fr Anthony Makunde, the Secretary General of the Association of Member Episcopal Conferences of Eastern Africa (AMECEA) has invited families, clergy, religious and the lay faithful to protect children and vulnerable groups from abuse.
“There are quite a number of challenges regarding to Child safeguarding …there are issues of Child employment, child harassment, child bullying, neglecting children in our families, child soldiers,” he said.
The priest was speaking in Lilongwe at the Episcopal Conference of Malawi Catholic Secretariat at a meeting held November 12-15 with the Catholic priests through the Association of Diocesan Catholic Clergy of Malawi to help the Episcopal Conference of Malawi find solutions to ending child abuse.
“In our African understanding, we say a child of my neighbor is my child. Whenever I find a child misbehaving or being mistreated, I am supposed to respond immediately. Unfortunately, that is no longer the case as people have lost concern for children who are not biologically theirs,” he said.
“Even some family members are not protecting their children as some of the abuses are happening within the family setting. We have to revive our good African values of helping families in upbringing children. Modernity is good we have adopted a number of modern issues, but that does not mean to neglect the good upbringing values which we used to have,” Fr Makunde added.
“The solutions differ according to cultural, social and religious environment. The church has neglected these issues in the past but it’s time we join hands to plan together and raise awareness to address the malpractice,” he added.
He expressed his wish for the AMECEA region to find ways of addressing the pastoral challenge and invited the clergy to accompany parents in forming good Catholic Christian families.
“Some members might be skeptical about the issue in Church institutions like schools, hospitals, and parishes but the reality is that Child abuse is happening. We must accept that the problem otherwise the fight against Child abuse will be a lost battle already,” said Fr Henry Saindi, the Secretary General of the Episcopal Conference of Malawi.