Buddies teach an important lesson
With the help of some corrugated plastic cut- out friends, Putaruru Primary pupils created awareness for child abuse last week.
The children of three Putaruru Primary classrooms decorated and cared for an imitation child as part of New Zealand’s first child abuse awareness event, last Friday’s Buddy Day.
Teacher and organiser for Putaruru’s role in the event Carma Webb said the idea behind the new ‘‘buddies’’ was to raise awareness of the high prevalence of child abuse.
‘‘Our class, C1, named ours Tane. The students were really gutted by the statistics and became quite fond and protective of Tane,’’ said Ms Webb.
Last Thursday the children, along with their child- size friends, discussed how important it was to talk to someone when abuse might be happening before sending Tane and the other dolls to Hamilton
Among the sponsors and supporters of the event this year were WEL Energy Trust, Bryant Trust, Lion Foundation, Waikato-tainui, Te Puni Kokiri, Longveld Engineering ( makers of the dolls), PSP Plastics and Convex Plastics.
Buddies were spread through- out the Waikato community on the Friday, taken to meetings and various workplaces, even out for coffees and lunch.
Community leaders, retailers, business people, politicians and members of the public looked after the life-like guys and girls to get people talking and thinking about how children should be treated, while promoting the message that any suspected child abuse should not go unnoticed.
‘‘We had four Year 8 students from Putaruru College who came and gave a wonderful talk about their experience adopting their buddy too,’’ said Ms Webb.
Putaruru Primary Principal Trish Cown said the kids really enjoyed making their buddies.
‘‘We are doing a Keeping Ourselves Safe programme at the moment. Which involves a police programme, road safety etc and the programme also includes abuse. The kids know what is right and what is wrong, when to say no. The buddy day was great for the kids,’’ she said.
Around 180 buddies were cared for in Huntly, Ngaruawahia, Hamilton and Cambridge with the intent to go nationwide with Buddy Day next year.
Each buddy represented 10 percent of the 1800 substantiated child abuse cases in the Waikato last year.
Libby Kissick is a WINTEC journalism student
BUDDY: Putaruru Primary School pupils got behind the first New Zealand Child Abuse Awareness day last Friday.