11 Sep 2014 16:10pm
By Francois Lottering
WINDHOEK, 11 SEP (NAMPA) - Children are deprived of their childhood by being forced to help in households, which means they mature while they are too young to do so.
This is the opinion of Alma Matheus, a radio producer at Uitani Childline Radio.
Speaking to Nampa here recently, Matheus said she feels when children mature while they are too young to do so, they also get involved in sexual activities at a young age.
The 17-year-old Matheus started working in radio at the age of 12 as a producer for childrens programmes, addressing issues which involve children.
She and her co-host on Uitani Childline Radio, Shaquille Shikwambi, are adamant that forcing young children to do daily chores like taking care of their siblings plays a negative role in their childhood.
She noted that there is still a lot to be done to make children feel safe in their own country, as she personally knows children who were abused and even raped by people whom they were supposed to trust.
As a young child, she also experienced abuse in her family circle.
It is a horrible, horrible experience, she stated, adding that children can never be helped enough.
Safety has no limit. We cannot say we will help you to this limit and leave you alone, and then you will be fine, she added.
Uitani was created as one such initiative to support children.
The programme brings childrens issues to the attention of the wider public.
Matheus thus called on parents and guardians to let children enjoy their childhood.
At the age of 10, girls are expected to cook, clean the house and even change the diapers of their younger siblings.
When will they enjoy their childhood? she asked.
Meanwhile, Shikwambi was of the opinion that more shelters should be built to assist children who suffer abuse.
Every citizen can do something to help. Apart from praying, everyone in their humble way can help, he stressed.
He also called on children to make use of Lifeline/Childlines toll-free number 116 by either calling or sending a text message, should they feel the need to talk to someone.
All information will be treated with confidentiality, Shikwambi said.
Lifeline/Childline, an organisation of skilled lay counsellors who assist people facing crises in their lives, created a platform to assist Uitani Childline Radio, whereby between 10 and 25 children produce a programme which talks about issues concerning children in Namibia.
The Uitani programme We talk what you talk about is a radio show produced by children for children.
It has been broadcast over weekends on radio stations such as the Namibian Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) radio services, Omulunga Radio, Base FM and Fresh FM since 2005.