Play Mat Process
A Community facilitator running the Play Mat Process with Caregivers says;
“Some Caregivers have reported that since participating in the Play Mat Process they have taken a keen interest in their children’s educations such as going to the school to find out how they are doing from the teachers and also actively engaging and asking their children about homework and what they need help with. The caregivers were very thankful for the programme. They are now able to listen to their children and have formed a bond with them. The caregivers related that they now know that when their children come back from school they must be ready to play. They also said that they have learnt a lot especially around the issue of discipline even though it’s still hard to know what the right measure to take. One Caregiver even reported that she and her children had a day were they sat and made the toys from waste because her children were interested to know how she had made them”.
“One of my caregivers used to shout at her children a lot and call them names. She says that she never had time to play as a child and never received love from a parental figure because her mother passed away when she was young so there was never a role model for her to look up too in terms of a good parent. She has now changed a lot and doesn’t shout or call her children bad names and she is improving her relationship with her children”.
Mom with 7 month old twins says about the home visitor and her experience of support;
“It was helpful to have someone with me throughout the journey of my pregnancy and taking care of me even coming to my home to teach me about the growth of my babies in my tummy. She has also helped me connect with other people so I have friends and I even connected with the church. I found the cards useful and they brought warmth and joy to me. The things they tell you like playing with your child and smiling at them and seeing if they have a problem or not and also playing with toys so they can explore and stretch their bodies. They love the toys I made for them. I learnt a lot. Knowing that they would come if I was having any trouble with my pregnancy or should I go into labour with nobody around this helped me. I would sit by myself when I was still at home pregnant and I would think about all the problems that I’m facing and I would get really stressed but since the Home Visitor has been coming around I felt that a burden was lifted off I now see myself as a person amongst other people she has supported me. When I look at my boys I see them growing well and I see that they are just like other children it doesn’t show that they are from what type of family as they are normal healthy beautiful boys. I see that my family is more at ease with one another. We are able to come together now and try and work things out together if we can’t we reach out to our Home Visitor to help us come to a common solutions. The session we had as a family were very good it brought the family together”.
Comments from the Father
“I would like to thank our Home Visitor she has been really good to us and has helped us through a lot of things, like encouraging me to start a garden so that my wife can have healthy food to eat and also just accepting odd jobs in the community so we can be able to buy nappies because that is our biggest need. I am really happy to see my twins grow well even though they don’t love us the same. One of the twins likes me more than his mother and the other twins likes his mother more than me. We are also able to now sit down and watch TV together with my wife which is something we have never done, before meeting with the Home Visitor one would go off and sit in the bedroom and the other would sit in the lounge but now we can sit together as a family and watch TV”.
Youth Process: Rise and Shine Youth Group
Below a review of the successes of the group from Youth Worker Thandeka Zuma;
This group of young women used to meet at a bus shelter now they meet in one of the youth’s grannies house. Reflecting on the SRHR sessions they identified key gaps in their own knowledge of their SRH rights, services and power to negotiate consent, as a result many became mothers at a very young age. The group had a Launch Event introducing themselves to the community and they have become known in the community as a safe place for children to be and play. The granny at whose house they meet was at first a bit suspicious, but is now very proud of her granddaughter and what good she and her friends are doing in Shaya Moya.
They don’t want their children to start engaging in sexual activities at a young age and without any knowledge or awareness of their rights how can they protect them from this. They want their children to be free to ask them anything and everything. So they started creating a safe space for their children and other neighbourhood children. They help them with homework and on Sundays they have play time together which allows or opens up room for children to be understood better. This has strengthened their relationship with children in their homes and communities.
They had a session where they wanted to know what their children and those they play with know about sex. They opened up a session on myths about girls and boys. Children had so many questions to ask such as; do you get pregnant by sitting on top of a boy? Is it true that when you are friends with a boy you will get pregnant so one must stay away from boys? They as parents provide their children with information about sex before they can even explore or try it out for themselves. They would like children in their community to be responsible in taking care of themselves.
The grandmother who lets the youth meet at her house said “At first she just agreed to them using her home she did not fully understand why they were meeting regularly. As a working mother she could only ask her children to keep an eye on the youth that meet at her house. Now she is seeing her great grandchildren play with their mother (who is her grandchild) she now sees how dlalanathi has influenced her to strengthen her relationship with her child. She even sees children from others homes coming to her house to do homework and it brings her joy that her home is contributing to the community in a positive way. She is really proud of the youth that meet in her home”.
In one of the children’s groups a young girl aged 11 told the following story.
Honouring the memory of my father –
“My father passed away before I was born. My mother has been abused by my stepfather because he is the breadwinner. My mother was too afraid to report the issue until one of our neighbours reported it and we were able to get help from an organization that helps. In this group it is a relief to share my story. I have been very sad and angry. I realise I have not been doing good things to my mother, and I want to change that and support my mother by all means. I am looking forward to doing good things (helping my mother at home, not fighting) and to honour the memory of my father”.
Family Support Groups
In a Family Support process mothers find comfort through sharing their very sad stories. For a number of caregivers the group was the first time they had shared their story of loss with others. Many expressed that this was because the group felt safe and open to listening.
“I was pregnant with twins. In labour it was discovered I was having three babies. When I gave birth the children were joined together by their stomach. The doctors said only one child was eating for all. All of the children died just after birth, the nurses didn’t tell me that they took my children to a place where they were going to teach other doctors about how these children were in the stomach. This happened without my consent. In this group I felt free and safe to share this story. This was the first time I found peace in my life because I managed to talk about something that had hurt me deeply”.
One grandmother shared that her daughter had died and left her with a new born, the young girl is now 6. The granny confessed to the group that she had not yet told her about her mother, she has been worried because she heard that the neighbours were going to tell the child, this group gave her the courage and understanding to face telling her grand-daughter the story.
Another mother shared how she had lost her 15 month old baby, many years ago. She had to go to the river to fetch water for the family and left her baby in their care, when she returned her baby had drowned. She said being in group had helped her so much because she had never got a chance to talk about this. As a young wife she felt she was not given time to heal, she had to be strong, this process gave her a chance to heal.