Young boys learning computer skills in Uganda

How important is religion in helping children grow up well?

This month’s Inequality Question, chosen by children living on the streets in Uganda focused on: “How important is religion in helping children grow up well?”

To make sure all the young people we work with were safe, they were in our main Drop-In Centre and were all following COVID-19 safety guidelines.

There were some recurring themes such as community, morals, and allowing children the freedom of choosing their religion.

Let’s have a look at some of the comments

Some people thought religion creates a positive community for children and encourages a more rounded upbringing:

  • “Religion has created a space where children get the chance to interact with one another. This has helped them create good friends and company that guide them through out life.” – Bakali, Uganda
  • “Religion helps us children to develop our talents. Churches always have different programs that are aimed at developing the talents of the children. They organize singing competitions, dancing, acting in drama and football galas.”– Bena, Uganda
  • “Religion has impacted children to live with greater hopefulness and optimism in life. this has kept so many positive and always aiming to reach higher.” – Hanakwa, Uganda

Others believe it is more important to allow children to have a choice

  • “I think the problem is religion is chosen for you as a child. You have no choice in which religion you are and aren’t always taught all the options. So I think no child should be considered part of a religion or undergo a religious ceremony until they become over 18 and can make a more informed choice.” – Sarah, UK
  • “I think it depends on the child and the way in which religion is shared with them. It can provide children with a supportive community and their faith can help them through hard times. However, I believe that children should be taught about a variety of religions and given the chance to ask questions to deepen their understanding. They need to value a variety of beliefs and have the chance to choose what they believe as a result.” – Nicola, UK

We also had some interesting comments from pupils are Woodhaven primary school.

  • “The problem I have with religion as a girl is that many religions have very sexist views about women in their traditions for example in the Bible or the Qur’an. So it doesn’t feel like religion is promoting gender equality the way it should be to be most useful to children.” – Pupil
  • “Religion is often used as the reason behind wars and for that reason I think it is bad for children. If you look at children in countries where there has been war I think they might agree with me that it is a bad thing for them to grow up with.” – Pupil
  • “I find my religion helps me to resist doing some bad things I might have done. It helps me to think about the kind of person I want to be.” – Pupil

In conclusion

In this month’s discussion, we have seen many fascinating answers on different ways religion may or may not help children grow up well. Thank you for everyone who joined in. The children find it so interesting to exchange ideas with people from around the world.

We look forward to receiving your comments in the discussion next month. Thanks again for sharing your ideas!

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