Ranzo was of the view that child sacrifice prevails in Uganda because people no longer wanted to work hard and instead preferred the easy way of getting money. Incidentally, the mindset that child sacrifice brings riches has been passed from the adults to children – something Ranzo wants to curb.
He said research findings from 210 schools in Jinja and Mukono show that 80% of pupils believe that when a child is sacrificed, the perpetrators get riches. Although the children also believe that the riches they get are not blessed. This mentality is more evident in rural schools; it stands at 80% compared to 60% in urban schools, which is still high according to Ranzo.
Some children, at 40% in the urban areas and 20% in the rural areas, do not believe that people can get rich by sacrificing children. To curb the mentality, Ranzo wrote Saving Little Viola, packaged in an appealing way to children, with pictures and questions at the end of every chapter. Children are more likely to reflect on the subject matter, learn from the questions and change their mindsets on whether child sacrifice is profitable or not.
For instance, after Viola (the child that is nearly sacrificed) has been kidnapped through trickery, readers are asked: “What made it easy for the men to kidnap Viola?”
The purpose of the question is for the children to arrive at their own answer as to how they can be kidnapped as opposed to telling them. Viola, in the book, was easily kidnapped because she was alone in the dark, early in the morning, before the sun came out. Educators say that children learn better when they are prompted to seek their own answers as opposed to when they are told the answers.
Saving Little Viola was originally one of the ten children’s stories, which interested Alison Naftalin of Lively Minds. Lively Minds is a children’s organisation in the UK that helps children attain potential through plays. Naftalin was captivated by the story because she could not believe that a practice as archaic as child sacrifice still exists in some parts of the world, like Uganda.
To help fight the practice by changing attitudes, she partnered with Ranzo and the result was the little green book. Education experts from the UK were also part of the process that saw the book to fruition. Children who have read it so far like it and keep asking for more stories, said a satisfied Ranzo.
The book will be distributed freely among schools to help children understand the gravity of child sacrifice.
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