Kaveni Dau has worked as a caretaker for Nakorotubu District School in Ra for the last three years and as a first-time participant in the Community Child Safeguarding (CSG) Training – he believes that all children have the right to be safe and feel safe.
The CSG training was a collaborative effort between Save the Children Fiji’s Knowledge and Action and Food Security (KANA) Project, the Child Protection team, and the Social Welfare Department.
For Kaveni Dau the one-day training was a self-reflect moment not only for him but for the other participants as well. Sharing his experience in dealing with children as a parent, uncle, and caretaker of a school – he highlighted that the biggest challenge is changing the mindset of the public, especially those in rural communities when it comes to raising a child and providing for their needs.
“Many times, we as parents are busy attending family or church functions that we forget about our children. Children should be our priority before anything else so we don’t neglect them” he mentioned.
The school caretaker shared that sometimes he witnessed students coming to school without lunch or feeling emotional because they did not receive the needed support from home.
Being absent from the lives of our children and not providing them with the guidance they need from a young age is a common issue that Kaveni Dau says is prevalent nowadays.
“We see it as a minor issue but our children need us”
The participant added that many times it’s easy for parents or guardians to physically punish children for misbehaving but this he says should not be the case.
“It all comes back to us parents. The majority of the time we blame our children for being on the wrong side of the law and getting into trouble when in fact it’s us not doing our job or spending enough time with them and sometimes it’s the domestic issues that they’re exposed to that affects them.”
Child negligence was also an issue that was strongly highlighted by Kaveni Dau. He says the training taught him about physical and emotional neglect. Respectively, this includes parents or caregivers failing to provide adequate food, clothing, shelter, supervision, and protection from potential harm. It also means failing to provide affection, support, or love to children.
“In the training, we were taught that it takes a village to raise a child and I agree. Because it takes the whole family unit and the community to ensure children develop into responsible citizens” he mentioned.
“I am grateful to Save the Children Fiji for providing this Child Safeguarding training. It’s an area that needs a lot of attention, especially for those raising children.”
For Kaveni Dau, children are precious gifts from God, and having to live in this age of endless opportunities – he believes it’s the responsibility of parents and caregivers to help children reach their full potential to achieve their goals and dreams.
Acknowledging the CSG training and its facilitators, Kaveni Dau recommended that the Community Child Safeguarding training be taken into rural communities of the Ra province for better outreach and advocacy.
The KANA and Child Protection projects are being implemented by Save the Children Fiji and funded by the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and supported by Save the Children New Zealand.