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Our experience at the IADC: Be part of the solution

On Friday, 11 February, eleven students completed our diploma course in safeguarding. Four of those students — Henrieta Gomes (Bangladesh), Ignashious Amirtharaj Jeyachandren (India), Florence Wanjiku Njagi (Kenya), and Fransiskus Bram Tulusan (Indonesia) — wrote a brief reflection on their experience, which we share with you today. Congratulations to all of our diploma students!

Be part of the solution and not the problem. We entered the diploma course on safeguarding minors and vulnerable persons offered by the IADC with this maxim and invitation in our minds. We want to be part of the solution for this social cancer of abuse. The silent cries and tears of abused minors, vulnerable adults, their families as secondary victims, and even those offenders who have perpetrated the abuse and who, however lately, have realized what pain and agony they have caused others — these knock on our hearts and minds, asking, if you do not respond to these cries, then who will? Listening to these cries, we have realized that safeguarding is a sacred ministry and a mission that requires a serious commitment from us.

Indeed, this course has been an eye-opener and offered us new insights regarding abuse against minors and vulnerable adults. We also realize that this course has helped us to move beyond our limitations and to have a deeper look at the reality of abuse and safeguarding in the Church, and in global society too. This course is very effective, encouraging, motivating, fruitful, and practical. We have understood that abuse against minors and vulnerable people is a global issue, and it requires global attention from different perspectives. True to our expectations, this diploma course of the IADC has been an interdisciplinary venture involving psychology, sociology, theology, philosophy, canon law, etc.

The IADC has helped us to believe strongly that creating a safe environment for minors — in families, in schools and institutions, in the Church and in society — is primarily the bounden duty and responsibility of adults. Thus, as adult members of the Church, we view safeguarding as one of our primary responsibilities towards children and others who are vulnerable. The Kingdom of God that Jesus envisages is pro-children and pro-vulnerable people. We always remember the words of Jesus, “Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them; for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” (Mt 19:14)

We like the IADC’s student-centered approach, which follows a non-conventional teaching methodology, giving importance to students along with their knowledge and experience in different fields and cultural contexts, their personal feelings, and their opinions. Thus, it encourages the 100% active participation of students. Additionally, the students and staff are men and women from different countries, fields, cultures, language backgrounds, and states in life. This diversity is highly enriching in the IADC.

We vouch that our stepping into the IADC has transformed us into new persons. We would like to recommend this course to others for four reasons: Education, Enlightenment, Empowerment, and Transformation to ensure the protection of minors and vulnerable ones and to create a safe and healthy society for all to live with happiness and peace. Let us together heal the world and make it a better place.

Our big thanks to the IADC!!!