Programme helps parents bond with their kids

Some of the parents who graduated show their certificates.

Raising a child while instilling discipline and developing a strong bond between a child and a parent can be a mammoth task, particularly for single parents.

However, this could well be a thing of the past, especially if you stay around Nyanga, thanks to a partnership between the University of Stellenbosch and Etafeni organisation.

The two have teamed up to respond to challenges faced by parents in and around Nyanga. Through the Families Matter initiative, they are helping parents with girls between the ages of nine and 12 to deal with critical life challenges including sex and reproductive health.

As part of the initiative, on Friday June 10, a group of 115 parents received certificates, at the KTC Hall, for having completed training in the five-week programme. And joy was evident as the parents waited patiently to get the certificates.

Zamikhaya Ndiki said the partnership started in 2014 following the results of the 2011 census. He said the numbers showed that in addition to being the country’s crime capital, Nyanga also faced serious socio-economic challenges.

He said the programme had been designed to improve the parent and child relationship, improve communication between the two and help parents talk to their children openly about sex.

Mr Ndiki said discussing sex and sexual reproductive health with young girls should not only be left to mothers. “Fathers must be comfortable to speak to their kids. Children must not learn from outside. As a father you have more interest in your child,” he said.

Since its inception, he said, almost 800 parents have been trained and the demand is growing.

Asked about measures used to gauge the project’s success, he said since it focused on behaviour it could be years before the results were known.

Mr Ndiki said the programme also strived to tackle the scourge of HIV/Aids.

One of the graduates, Nonkululeko Mari, from Lusaka, said she was thrilled to be part of the programme. She said she joined the programme after she was visited by its fieldworkers.

Ms Mari said the programme has been a huge learning curve for her.

“I learnt a lot of things which I thought I knew,” she said.

“It really encourages and builds bonds between a parent and a child. I am glad with what I have learned.”