Arrupe Jesuit University organizes a Safeguarding Workshop

by Arinze M. Nnamani SJ

Arrupe Jesuit University started the New Year with a workshop on Child and Vulnerable Adult Protection against abuse. This initiative was taken in response to the call of Pope Francis on the Universal Church to tackle the menace of abuse of children and vulnerable adults. In the same vain, Fr. Arturo Sosa, the Superior General of the Society of Jesus, in his letter to the whole society, “To Share the Suffering of Victims of Abuse and Foster a Culture of Protection,” encourages all Jesuit owned institutions to ensure that all Jesuits and their collaborators are educated to join the fight against abuse of children and vulnerable adults.

It was in this spirit that participating in the workshop was compulsory for all members of staff (teaching and non-teaching), and students of Arrupe Jesuit University.

The workshop was organized by the African Forum for Catholic Social Teaching (AFCAST) team headed by Sr. Anna Mandeya; the Child Protection Officer in AJU.

Sr. Anna Mandeya the Child Protection Officer at Arrupe Jesuit University (AJU) making a presentation

The workshop lasted for two days; Thursday, 3rd and Friday, 4th of January, and one of ours, Mr Uchechukwu Oguike, SJ, piloted the affairs of the workshop as the Master of Ceremony. The workshop was packed with interesting activities that were meant to deepen our knowledge of the meaning and forms of abuse and ways to prevent it.

Input given was on: Child Abuse in a Changing World presented by Prof. Lawrence Daka, SJ; Church’s Response to Vulnerable Groups presented by Sr. Theresa Nyadombo, HLMC; Child and Vulnerable Adult Safeguarding presented by Sr. Anna Mandeya; The Role of the Police in Protecting the Vulnerable presented by the Staff Officer Victim Friendly Unit of Zimbabwean Police. In addition to these, two survivors of sex-related child abuses shared their touching stories with the audience. There were group works/ discussions, reflections, a short play on safeguarding the vulnerable presented by the AFCAST team, and a testimony of an ex-convict.

There were also question and answer sessions and ways to tackle this menace were discussed as part of the conclusions.

At the end of the event, participants expressed their dissatisfactions with the inhumane acts of abuse and the various forms in which these acts manifest in the victims. The participants were also pleased with the information gotten from the workshop as it has equipped them to join in protection of children and vulnerable adults.

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