Psychosocial Support (PSS)
Posted in February 2017
Christabel’s Story: Becoming a Trained Counsellor
Christabel is 26-year-old female teacher living in Kiambiu, Nairobi. Since 2014, Christabel has been teaching around 400 students at the Baraka Academy, located in the Kosovo area, Kiambiu.
Before JCCP’s involvement, the Baraka Academy had no dedicated space for student counselling, nor any counselling-trained teachers, making it exceptionally difficult to identify children in need. Previously, whenever teachers encountered problems with children at school they would attempt to call in their parents or guardians to discuss the matter, however teachers often found that parents were too busy working to follow them up on their concerns. “Teachers could not see the root cause of problem in children’s hearts. Students could not tell teachers their issues,” says Christabel, looking back on that time.
In response, JCCP launched a counselling skills training course for teachers like Christabel. Christabel’s training began with basic counselling skills and progressed to cover a wide range of topic areas such as child therapy for traumatized children due to drug use, abuse, or the death of a loved one, the child protection act, and art therapy. Through her participation in the JCCP training course, Christabel obtained the knowledge and skills necessary to adequately assist children with issues at her school.
After completing her training, Christabel was appointed to the role of school counsellor and given a therapy room in which to conduct student counselling. The therapy room was set up in order to provide a safe space for students to discuss their issues with Christabel.
One day, Christabel found out that a boy named David (not real name) in the first grade had a drinking issue. David told Christabel that he could talk about the matter to her privately, so she began counselling him. Over the course of their counselling sessions David revealed that his mother was selling home-made beer and that he was drinking it. Christabel invited David’s mother to participate in the second session. She was shocked to hear that David had been drinking as she was completely unaware of the issue. Acknowledging the difficulty of situation, Christabel suggested the mother relocate her business away from home and hire someone to help out in the evenings. All in all, David and his mother took part in six counselling sessions with Christabel after which he stopped drinking and rose to become the top student in his class.
Christabel has recently been networking with other like-minded individuals in the local area and intends to open a girls’ empowerment center in the near future. “As there is a high rate of teenage rape and unwanted pregnancy in the area, girls need to learn self-defense and other relevant life skills to gain a comprehensive education in order to support their families.” Christabel continues her important work listening to the voices and hearts of children in her community.
Christabel (Teacher at Baraka Academy)
Christabel teaching children at school