Laila is a bright teenage girl with a lot of energy. She is so creative and loves to have fun. However, the only subject Laila enjoys in school is Fine Art. She finds other subjects extremely boring. She daydreams whenever she’s in class and talks and laughs by herself. Laila’s teacher, on the other hand, interpretes this as playfulness and unseriousness. She then writes to Laila’s parents telling them the same. Laila’s dad, upon receiving the report, “You are a good for nothing. Do you have any idea how much am spending on your fees?” he yells at Laila, typical of African parents. Her mother, even though not always, this time also joins the bunch of reprimanders.
Laila is deeply hurt. Deep down, she knows she’s not playful. She only finds all of the subjects boring. Period. “I’m going to become an artist when I grow up” She often tells herself.
The reaction she gets from all of her supposed role models leave her distressed. Distress turns to remorse and the remorse breeds contempt. As a result, she flees from home. A boy at her school had told her he knew “A school of art” somewhere and he’d take her.
Unfortunately, the boy was upto no good. Because Laila had gone missing for a whole week. By the time she was found, she was in terrible shape. It was too late. You can just imagine what all could have happened to a beautiful girl of thirteen who was missing the whole week. The damages could be so severe she’d never recover.
Let’s re-write the story
Imagine if there was an understanding adult among the three, someone who sought to understand Laila and why she was always daydreaming. Someone who could bring out the positivity of the situation and relay it to Laila’s parents. Someone who has been specially trained to understand people, without judging. Someone who could have saved the situation and prevented the bad fate. That someone, is a Guidance Counsellor that should have been at Laila’s school.
The role of the Guidance Counsellor, according to ASCA(American School Counsellors Association) is to
“help all students in the areas of academic achievement, personal/social development and career development, ensuring today’s students become the productive, well-adjusted adults of tomorrow.”
A well-trained Guidance Counselor should be the first point of call whenever there’s a problem with any student. From Academic to personal. An effective and efficient Guidance and Counselling system is a must have for every school. There are many Lailas around us, each one with a different story, whether we recognise them or not. But we can prevent them from suffering bad fates by advocating, ensuring, suggesting and enforcing effective Guidance and Counselling systems to be adopted in all of our schools.
And that’s what SAF Talk2me is doing, ensuring that every child gets a chance to showcase and build their talents and become great contributors to society.
Join SAF Talk2me today by filling the form below. Look forward to hearing from you.
See you soon!