Tjeko through the eyes of Phiona: a play professional and a brave mother.

One of our staff members share her heart in the good and the difficult times.

Moments that touched my heart and activated me in a time like this:

A while ago I heard the Minister of Health telling people to exercise. Exercise in this period with much fear, hunger and anxiety? I remembered for myself: Tjeko has the best play professionals.. Playyyy Matters! In everything that we do! That’s what Tjeko is all about!

PLAY is a range of intrinsically motivated activities done for recreational pleasure and enjoyment.
On Tuesday morning at around 10 am, I told the girls to collect buveras (plastic bags), we folded them into a ball and began to play Kwepene. (Kwepana is a game that looks like dodge ball, played by three people). It was enjoyable! After a while the children began asking for water. Ofcours! Me too! We needed it after playing hard! We were all thirsty and sweaty. For sure it was a good exercise. We discovered: play is away to build your families immunity… I really do believe that! And through Tjeko I’m seeing an opportunity of promoting good healthy together with creativity.

What made me cry
As I was playing with my girls, the kids from the neighborhoods were watching and admiring us. They were cheering from afar, others tried to get closer but I stopped them…and it felt so wrong! (That’s not me). I felt like letting them join us, but no, I couldn’t. It is corona period; they would be affecting my family or us affecting them. AAAAH, God heal us from this pandemic please so that little children can enjoy their childhood together.

What broke my heart
As we were still playing, some ladies from the neighborhood passed. They laughed at me saying how playing is very a shameful thing to do. And how they cannot do it anymore with their children. It really broke my heart. They don’t know what they are missing and they are denying their children chances of exercising, creativity, empathy, togetherness and connection with them. Yes, we are in the pandemic but our children are still children and children need to enjoy their childhood. Especially in a time were we are together with our children. Let’s make it meaningful.

What made me think
Parents need to know that playing with their children is not a shameful, neither can it make you lose your dignity. They should know that playing is a source of invention, creativity, togetherness and stimulate the self-esteem of their child. A lot of time parents deny a child a chance to play. He or she is denying her a chance of becoming confident and play time is one of the best moments that a parent can connect and understand their children more. Please let the children play and if you have chance, play with them.

What made me smile
Seeing my girls playing, enjoying and smiling freely with me, their mother! It’s the best thing! I try to always think of new games to play. Although it has now become a challenge because they want me to play even when am tired, hahaha. But anyway, I’m to design a time timetable, just like school. Because play is a way to learn!

As a staff of Tjeko that promotes play, we have to always remember that children have responsibility at home. But also parents need to understand that play is important part of their lives. It becomes more and more important as children grow. We can join hands with the ministry of health and boast children’s immunity through playing while promoting good healthy and fighting covid19. We can do this both in communities and in school. My fellow staffmembers we have a long way to go! Together we can! #together we are stronger.

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