Saturday, November 28, 2020

Social worker pleads for help for underprivileged

There’s an easy solution to break down the stigma that is often attached to children who grow up in less privileged settings ÔÇô give them gifts. With Christmas just around the corner, Social Worker Ouna Hule’s spirit of giving has got her thinking about the less privileged children in our society.

“I am fortunate enough to be from a well rounded home where my parents have managed to provide way more than my bare necessities while raising me. Each time the year draws to a close, i can’t help but think of children who aren’t as fortunate as me. By Christmas I plan to have collected as many books as possible to pass on to children of a charity I’m yet to identify,” said Hule. She says she normally gives clothes as Christmas presents to children of various charities around the city but this year she intends to give something that will leave a lasting impact on them. She says she is therefore extending her plea to individuals and organisations who are able to pledge books to please come forth and help her in her endeavours.  

Hule says there is a vast array of books written for children meant to stimulate their minds in different ways. “Diverse children’s literature whether fictional or factual can introduce children to the world in which they actually live. They often meet all kinds of people and see their differences and commonalities through books. Children from families who may not have diverse friends or neighbourhoods can especially benefit from this,” said Hule. 

She urges people who are willing to help to consider all kinds of books and not just conventional school text books.

“Not every child these days is blessed with a grandmother or grandfather that has time to sit down with them around the fire during school holidays and share tales and folklore. A book can be a great gift to that effect,” says Hule, adding “Through reading, i want the children to learn lessons from the brave and strong characters in the books.” 

Hule says children regardless of their social class or background need to be taught empathy and a book gift can be a great way of teaching a youngster such a value. “As young children they mostly don’t understand anyone outside of themselves and that can make it difficult for them to empathise with them,” she says. Her concern is that lack of empathy carried into adulthood will inevitably create immensely character flawed individuals who will not only be a danger to themselves, but the communities they grow in. 

“Privilege in my view means society gives you more credit than someone else based on factors you aren’t responsible for such as what language you were raised speaking, the neighbourhood in which you grew or whether you are perceived as having a disability. It makes life easier, because you do not have to prove yourself constantly,” Hule says. She says she is hopeful that book gifts will give children some kind of privilege. “And I want them to be ready to use this privilege to help break down the stigma they might already have of being less privileged,” she says.     [email protected]

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