School is like a second home for many children. This is why a team of teachers, known as the Beacon Teachers Movement, are working together to keep children safe both at school and home.
The Beacon Teachers Movement was started by Plan international together with the Teachers Service Commission in Kenya. The aim of starting this movement was to give teachers the opportunity to promote child protection in their schools and communities.
The teachers have been trained to detect, prevent and report cases of child abuse as well as sensitise community members on how to keep children safe.
Cases of child protection
Mr Robert Ouko Omwa is the coordinator of the Beacon Teachers Movement in Kisumu. Mr Omwa has dedicated his time, efforts and resources to ensure that child protection is upheld in this community.
However, it has not been an easy journey for him. He says that some of the cases he has handled include cases of defilement, early marriages and school dropouts. In 1 month, Mr Omwa handles about 10 cases of child abuse. With the help of Plan International, the children have been able to get help.
Ensuring children stay safe in school
As part of their role the teachers educate children about their rights and what to do if they are abused. Mr Omwa says, “Child abuse cases that are in the courts drag for so long and it becomes tiresome to follow up on each one of these cases. Sometimes in the process of the delay, parents of the children who were abused decide to withdraw the cases for fear of being victimised.”
Jonathan is also a member of the teachers movement in Kisumu. He has been a teacher at his school for 8 years and understand the struggles within his community.
“Being a Beacon Teacher has been both fulfilling and challenging,” says Jonathan. “It is very fulfilling because of the satisfaction that one gets in knowing that a child is safe or that a child has been saved from harm.”
Jonathan has also handled cases of girls and boys dropping out of school. In addition to this, he spearheads a school feeding programme for orphans at the school. The programme ensures that the orphaned children in the area who study at the school are able to have a meal which gives them a reason to look forward to learning and reduces the chances of them dropping out.