The children in Madagascar need to be reached because their parents aren’t talking about sexual abuse, or sexuality, with them. So kids aren’t aware of it. Even me, I was not. I didn’t know the meaning of the word “rape” until I was 15. I was always asking, “What does that mean?” but people avoided the discussion. It wasn’t until I was older when I understood what it was. So it’s good that children know what could happen to them.
The message of prevention in the “My Body is Mine” flip chart is told through story, followed by questions. It gives presenters’ discussion suggestions that will help children be better able to identify dangerous situations.
The flip chart encourages a free, open discussion between the presenter, the children, and even the school’s principal.
When I stood in front of the children, their eyes were glowing as they looked at the pictures, and at me. Some were shy when I started to talk, but when the conversation goes on, they became engaged. So that’s good.
When I present the flip chart in a classroom, the teachers at first try not to look at me because they are embarrassed, especially if the teacher is a man — but they need to be there, even though the children, especially the girls, are also embarrassed. We need to find a way to speak about sexual things with children, even though it is something people think we shouldn’t talk about with them. If we are not speaking with them about sexual things in a good way, then someone else will do it, but in a dirty way. So it is good that we can talk with them through stories, and show them that talking about sexual things doesn’t have to be dirty. I’ve found that the flip chart is really effective. Thank you for bringing “My Body is Mine” here. I believe it will save kids who’ve been abused.
We met Mahery Nasoloniavo when we first presented the “My Body is Mine” flip chart in Antananarivo, the capital of Madagascar, in November of 2017. Since then she has become the primary implementer of the flip chart in her home country, reaching more than 2,500 children in the first year of our pilot program in Africa. Mahery is part of the Love146 team in Madagascar, working for us and Growing the Nation’s Therapy Programmes, our partner organization in Madagascar.