On Wednesday 1 February Rays of Hope hosted a Parenting Workshop conducted by Proud2BMe, an organisation based in Cape Town. It was conducted by facilitator Nosisa Mayisela over three days at Ikhaya Lomusa Resource Centre in Marlboro Gardens near Alexandra Township.
Proud2BMe works under the auspices of the Department of Social Development to spearhead family transformation and community development programmes.
25 parents and guardians from Alex attended the workshop including the foster parents of Ikhaya Lomusa Children’s Home. The theme was: if I want to see change, it starts with me.
The workshop was all about guiding yesteryear’s child to raise a responsible tomorrow’s parent. The township consists predominantly of broken families where violence, prostitution, substance abuse, gangsterism and child abuse are the order of the day. This is mainly because most children are orphaned and are under the care of grannies, uncles, aunts and even older siblings who lack basic parenting skills.
Nosisa introduced the workshop with the analogy of a parent being a petrol station and the child a car. It is the parent’s duty to supply the child with information (petrol) in the correct quantities. Children must get information about life issues from their parent/guardian. Failure to do this will result in the child receiving the information from undesirable sources: peers, neighbours etc. These are usually unreliable sources of information.
On day one the group consisting of grannies, single parents, guardians and even siblings looking after younger siblings, arrived with the expectation that they would be told that the way in which to bring up children was more or less the same that they themselves had been raised. However, as the day progressed and overlapping into day two, most were so inspired that they agreed to change the way they were currently going about their parenting duties. As the different stages in a child’s development were unpacked, the attendees were urged to understand these stages in order to guard the children against negative influences and allow only the positive ones. The group was often split into smaller groups for roleplays and activities which gave insights into the obstacles and challenges that most parents and guardians encounter when raising children.
On day three the group was given the opportunity to share their own individual experiences about how they were raised. Almost everyone in the group had a sad story to tell about their backgrounds. Some of the stories were so touching and emotional that group members burst into tears. We all assured one another that despite our sad upbringing, which we mistakenly believed to be faultless before the workshop, we had an obligation towards the children under our care to make sure they felt loved, protected and, most of all, that they felt empowered to grow up and become useful members of their families in particular and of the Alexandra community in general. This would in turn break the cycle of abuse and neglect in Alexandra and create a safer environment for children to grow up in.
On the last day one granny who is taking care of her grandchildren who were abandoned by her daughter thanked Nosisa with tears streaming down her face. Her words were: “Thank you so much, my child, for sharing such knowledge with us. I am an old person but the things I have learned here have given me hope where I had lost hope in bringing up my grandchildren.”