Creating a community that comes together to empower each other can change a child’s trajectory.
Community building needs to be inclusive. Children defined by social circumstances can lose out under systemic pressures. Therefore, community building requires championing not only children, but also their parents.
Social conditions can be geographically and economically determined. Thus, government policies need to level the playing field.
We need to build communities that are resilient and hopeful that things will change in a large scale. Disasters such as a pandemic disproportionately affects marginalised children, and we need to address the root issues of children being left behind.
Everyone plays a role in building community, not concentrated to few.
Providing children with access to learning centres and to teachers, mentors and peers creates an appetite for knowledge. Through this they will want to be more and learn more.
We have to adopt a farmer’s approach where we farm and grow people instead of a hunter’s approach where we hunt and force people to practice things. We need to support the community builders in order for them to build communities in a more efficient and effective way.
Community centres and NGOs can be engines for economic development. This includes taking children from marginalised communities and realising their potentials through exposure to opportunities. This can be done by strategic placing of facilities and services.
Community building requires a unified and systemic approach.
Although there is potential for change, there remains uncertainty at a systemic level. It is important that new policies should not be introduced without sufficient data and research.
Community building needs out-of-the-box thinking. For example, establishing a community medical centre that does things beyond a medical model and empowering youth to spur policy-level changes.
We need to have a wider focus and use systemic approaches to achieve more. The ultimate goal should be looking at ways to create environments where children are better taken care of, in order to spur a virtuous cycle that develops society as a whole.