Director’s Blog: Listening to the Children’s Perspective

This past month, the VOH-Africa leaders had their annual meetings. As usual they discussed what is going on at each Village location, and then reflected on the future of Villages of Hope. Here are some reflections from Executive Director Sergio Bersaglio on the week…

Listening to the Children’s Perspective

Every year we bring the leaders from each village together to learn, share experiences, and encourage one another. Last week we met in Harare, Zimbabwe for our third annual meeting. We had several special guests speak to us about community development, sustainability, leadership and discipleship. The feedback received from all those who attended was very positive and encouraging. We ended our time together by setting some goals that would ensure that all villages apply what we learned and discussed. All in all it was a successful meeting.

Although each year these meetings hold its own value, this year was special in particular because for the first time we had in attendance a former VOH child.

Samuel Mamatu moved into the Village of Hope – Kitwe in 1999. After graduating from high school and studying business administration at the local community college Samuel joined the team at the Chongwe Village of Hope as the assistant administrator. Having Samuel present at the meeting made for some very interesting discussion as he brought to the table the perspective of the children we are caring for.

Unfortunately, we as ‘grown-ups’ often forget to view things from a child’s perspective, or, at the very least, to include them in the conversation when planning for their care. Fortunately for us, this year we had Samuel to bring that very perspective we’d been missing. He spoke up regularly and with confidence and his presence made us all richer and better equipped for the challenging job we face.

At the end of the three days we visited the VOH in Harare. We met the children, heard them sing and then toured the Village. The highlight for me was watching Samuel meet with the youth who are living at the village. They sat in a circle under the grass thatched gazebo holding hands and talking about issues that are unique to youth of Village of Hope.

I spoke to Samuel afterwards about what challenges the youth of VOH-Zimbabwe are facing and he said, “The same stuff as we did: fear of the future.” In a way that was nice to hear, but it also placed on me the need to be sure and continue to listen to the children and youth, and to engage them in dialogue; we need to help them reduce their fear of the future.

I encouraged all Village Directors to engage the children and youth in the future, because the last thing we want is to have an “us and them” attitude; rather, we want to work together with them as a family, because they are, after all, our children.


Samuel meeting with the youth of VOH-Zimbabwe


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4 thoughts on “Director’s Blog: Listening to the Children’s Perspective”

  1. Excellent Serge to hear that Samuel along with other young people is taking an active part in
    VOH. Our prayer is that spirit filled young people will use their God given gifts to help meet the challenges of their community.

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