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Parents must keep close eye on children, nannies

SPEAK OUT ON VIOLENCE with DORIS KASOTE
LAST week, I had a chat with an aunt who runs a nursery school.  She narrated how some children that go to her school are clearly abused by their nannies without the knowledge of their parents.
According to her, parents are sometimes too busy to even observe that their child is silently screaming for help.
From her experience as a nursery school teacher and her day-to-day interaction with children, she has vowed never to allow a nanny to take care of her grandchildren.
She says some nannies are good pretenders when their employers are around but once they leave home, these nannies turn into the devil himself.
She told me about a four-year-old child, who when she just joined her school was very active until a year down the line.
The child would go to school with bruises and, once, with a swollen leg. She became timid and withdrawn.
She always seemed to be afraid of something or someone. This prompted my aunt to probe further and find out why the performance of one of her very active girls in school had slumped.
Aunt called the girl aside to ask her if all was well at home but the child was reluctant to speak. The child was assured that the secret would be between the two of them.
The child, amid sobs, finally opened up and told aunt that the bruises on her face were as a result of burns caused by the nanny while her swollen leg was caused by being beaten by the nanny with an iron bar.
She confided in aunty that when her parents inquired, she told them she had fallen while playing with her friends because the nanny threatened to kill her if she ever told anyone.
Touched, aunt took it upon herself to drive to the child’s home seeking an audience with the parents. Smelling a rat, the nanny always gave excuses about how impossible it was to find her employers home because they were always working.
Finally, the parents were informed of how their child was being ill-treated by someone they entrusted the life of their daughter with.
The nanny was sent packing.
Aunt, who has run a day care for years, cautions parents not to ignore any slight changes in their children, be it physically or emotionally.
She notes that the case of the Ugandan nanny, Jolly Tumuhirwe, who was caught on camera savagely torturing a toddler, should be a wake-up call for parents to be more observant on their children’s well-being.
The acts of Jolly were certainly of one who is heartless. The toddler was only two years old.
The Ugandan nanny was jailed for four years, but how many children out there continue to suffer in silence at the hands of a brutal nanny? I have no doubt that they are several.
Violence against children is ugly. Sadly, violence and neglect against children sometimes result in children losing their lives.
The act of violence against children is universal. There is need for alertness in homes, communities and society in general to put an end to violence against children.
It may not necessarily be a nanny, but anyone perpetuating violence against children should be held accountable.
Until next week, let’s keep in touch.
dkasote@daily-mail.co.zm

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