Letter to the Editor-Better help for parents/guardians whose child gets lost in social activities


02-April-2013

After the carnival I went with my three-year-old son and my mother near the taxi stand toilet. My mother did not have any change with her so I carefully placed my son near me, told him to remain still and I looked for some change in my bag. It took me only a few seconds to do that but when I looked over to take my son’s hand he was gone. At first I was cool, for I knew he had to be in the vicinity, but I was so wrong.

After 20 minutes of searching, contacting friends, informing the police, my worst fear came over me. What if he was hit by a car or he was crying? After minutes of searching, my sister-in-law who is a member of the Red Cross Society of Seychelles, advised me to go place his name at the stage where they would inform the public about my son. Relief washed over me as it meant help, but how so wrong I was.
 
We went there to find no security guard around. After five minutes of searching we finally caught up with one near the gate.
Unfortunately, he was unable to help as he could not find the security guard who was assigned to do this task. Anger and sadness gripped me. My three-year-old son was out there all alone and there was no one to help me find him.

Finally I saw the announcer, I went up to him and I was told to wait for four more songs to be played before he could announce that my son was lost. I felt so frustrated that I swore at him and cried. WAIT UNTIL FOR FOUR MORE SONGS!!! Who in their actual state of mind would say that to a mother? He did not even bother to ask me for his name or what he was wearing.

I was the one who had to tell him. As all of this was happening, another devastated mother came in with the same problem and she was given the same treatment.

I left the stage in pure anger and decided to search for my son by myself. After praying God, a few minutes later I got a call from my mum informing me that she had found him near the same place where he was declared lost. Words could not describe how happy I was!

They say that out of a bad experience comes something good and I am determined to see a change in the way we are helped when it comes to finding our kids. Yes, as mothers we should be careful when taking our kids to activities but, but accidents happen. I want agencies concerned to put up a proper channel to go through in cases where our kids get lost.

I recommend that there should be a stall or a corner where we could go to get help. Being asked to wait for four more songs should not be an answer to someone who has lost his or her child, one song I could understand but four! Anything can happen within seconds. Would you have asked a VIP to wait for that long?

Every child is special and every child should be treated with respect. What has happened to me can happen to anyone of us. So once again I am urging agencies concerned to take up this matter as I would not wish another mother to go through what I went through.   
Thank you for the space.

Farana Commettant (Ms) 
   

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