Having realised the lack of reading material for children who come to the LifeLine/ChildLine Namibia centre for counselling, Unam final-year Social Work student at Denise Brandt took it upon herself to start a kiddies’ corner and library for them.
Brandt came up with the idea while doing an internship at the LifeLine/ChildLine Namibia, a registered welfare organisation that handles different telephone, SMS, face-to-face and online counselling services nationwide.
The library has been up and running since yesterday in the children’s counselling room, while more books are at the centre’s reception area.
She told Youth Corner the idea of the library is to create a reading culture among children, while counsellors can also make use of these books to assist children during the counselling process.
“Adults too can read short stories while waiting for their children who are in their counselling sessions or even while they are waiting for their sessions to start,” explained Brandt.
She said reading and storytelling with children boost their imagination, facilitate the development of language and emotions and it strengthens relationships.
Brandt further explained the difficulties of counselling a traumatised child, saying it is sometimes hard to get them to talk about their feelings and experiences.
“Through reading, a child can be helped to understand new or frightening events and the strong emotions that come with it. Reading stories with children promotes bonding, and it helps to build a relationship with the child. Building rapport with kids is one of the main duties of a counsellor or social worker to get the child to trust the social worker or counsellor to share the child’s story.”
She noted that while reading at an early age can improve a child’s grammar and teaches them new concepts, it also helps in children’s emotional and social development because they learn to associate with words and find a way to better express themselves.
“Reading also develops concentration, and it can help to reduce screen time. Children’s brains need stimulation to learn and grow. Most of the time, they use gadgets and games and become addicted to screen time, which hampers their brain development.”
She stated that books inspire children to learn and explore the world around them.
Brandt received donations of books and other materials from friends, family and organisations such as the OK store at Baines, Unam Press, Checkers, LM Steel Builders, WM Trading, Niita Shitula Social Work CC, Royal Pan African Spa & Wellness Centre and the Halaal Meat Market.