Empowering Girls and Women as Mothers

by Keep The Dream196
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Empowering Girls and Women as Mothers
Empowering Girls and Women as Mothers
Empowering Girls and Women as Mothers
Empowering Girls and Women as Mothers
Empowering Girls and Women as Mothers
Empowering Girls and Women as Mothers
Empowering Girls and Women as Mothers
Empowering Girls and Women as Mothers
Empowering Girls and Women as Mothers
Mpho at the color run earlier this year!
Mpho at the color run earlier this year!

You are awesome! Thank you so much for your support! You are making such a huge difference each and every day to the lives of our (yours and ours) kids, it is so wonderful to see these kids smile, it lights up my whole day, I hope it does yours as well....!

We are now at camp and have a lot of activities happening, lots of logistics arranging people coming and going, meals, activities, resources at the right place at the right time, training of adults, training of kids by adults, fun, and more fun. I am not being facetious because every activity gives a child the opportunity to plan, implement, and evaluate the outcomes so it is really project management in a box, plus they learn to direct adults, a definite skill and talent.

The kids are having an absolute ball and most of the time they are not realising the serious skills they are acquiring, it's great!

Also, we have a group of adults from our partner in Venda, called the Japanese Volunteer Centre, and they are being trained on working with Cubs aged 7-11yrs. It's so wonderful to be training again, its been 2yrs of frustration but now we are winding back up and reclaiming our kids and more.

I hope you enjoy Mpho's story!

Don't forget if you have any questions just let me know.

Take care be blessed

Louise

ps if you would like to send a letter of encouragement to Mpho, please go to our website and leave a message, the link is below.

 

 

My name is Mpho and I live in Motupa. I am 14yrs old girl and have been with KTD196 since 2018. I come from a family that has many challenges but going to scouts has helped me change my attitude towards the troubles we experience. I am able to see the problems but not judge myself by my troubles. My family is very poor but I am rich in so many ways. I have scouts, I have many friends, I have a roof, I eat twice a day, I have clothes, I go to school and learn and I go to scouts and learn.

I thank God for scouts because they taught me how to be a better person. I now see the best in my situation even though it is not easy. They have taught me not to do things just because other kids are doing things, peer pressure can be a real a problem, but I have a group of people that support me and I support them and together we follow the scout laws and stay away from negative behaviour. Many of the girls in my school are pregnant but because I am a scout I dont want to do those things. I want to keep an eye on my dream to become a Nurse because I want to help people when they are sick. Most importantly I want to help people not get sick.

Thank you for reading my story. Thank you for supporting of KTD196. LOVE Mpho

Camping, its all about the FUN!
Camping, its all about the FUN!

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Learning Fire Safety
Learning Fire Safety

THANK YOU! From the bottom of my heart THANK YOU.

There are many days when the work that we do can be overwhelming and full of a plethora of challenges.  However, there is not ever a day that I am not encouraged by seeing the work that we do to change and transform lives. The young people who serve are not foreign to physical and sexual violence, HIV, drugs, alcohol, gangs, and much much more HOWEVER your support means more than mere words can convey.

This week alone we know through our programs we saved hundreds of young people from the dark lure of gangs, drug use, petty crime, and teen pregnancy. 

We at Keep The Dream 196 for over 15 years have been that beam of light, hope, support, direction, affirmation, strength, safety, and unconditional love.

It is because of people like you, sharing your compassion and support in a very real way, these young people are able to overcome dire obstacles and finish school, go to university, feed their families, and help their peers make better choices with their lives.

Thank you for partnering with us! Thank you for caring and believing in these young people! And, thank you for bringing dreams to real life. 

On behalf of the board of directors, the young people, and their families, please know that you are sincerely and deeply appreciated. 

Warmly and Sincerely,

Fred

Chair of the Board

Keep The Dream196

 

Below are pictures of some of the different skills we teach the children, from fire safety to basic cooking skills but also the third photo of a child creating a circle with a stone in the center signifying "Gone Home". When the younger children go on hikes we prepare the ground with different signs such as:

1. Turn Left or Right

2. Go straight ahead

3. Be careful, rough road ahead etc so that the children become more aware of their surroundings and know the directions they need to take.

These are just some of the activities and skills the children learn.

I have linked a video below about fire safety that the children learned, I hope you enjoy it!

Louise

Learning Cooking Skills
Learning Cooking Skills
We also teach kids to communicate on open trails.
We also teach kids to communicate on open trails.

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Thank you for your Support!
Thank you for your Support!

Well, I have had some interesting responses to last week’s post about Children’s Rights. Let me just clarify a point or three.

Firstly, we will continue with the Children's Program as is, we will just be adding new components regarding participation to the program, not replacing the program.

Secondly, Rights are a difficult issue regarding children, at KTD196 we teach rights and responsibilities so that children understand they have rights but they also have responsibilities regarding how they treat their rights, for example, one right is the right to Education however the children have a responsibility to:

  1. Go to school
  2. Create a positive learning environment
  3. Be respectful to the teacher and classmates
  4. Participate in classwork
  5. Do their homework

Sadly some children have been taught their rights which are devoid of their responsibilities which sets up tension between parents and children, and teachers and children.

Finally, the children in their villages, school, and families face a myriad of overwhelming issues which is why I think KTD196 fulfills such an important need. Through the CRSA we found out that children are not receiving what they need to grow and develop holistically, now I know I am generalizing however, a majority of the children interviewed were desperate to be able to share their feelings, and fears, and the situation with supportive adults, but sadly most felt alienated, isolated and alone. KTD196 has adults that listen, encourage, advise, support and love.

Apartheid has done a lot of damage over the decades, yes I know Apartheid has been dead officially since 1994 but the parents of the children we work with all grew up under Apartheid and often their parents were not around and did not provide them with the nurturing care, love and support we take for granted. The parents of today were brought up without their parents, who usually had to work away from home and come back once or twice a year. The rest of the time they were raised by elderly grandparents often too tired themselves to meet their grandchild’s needs. Parents don’t know what they are supposed to provide, oh they know about providing food, shelter, and school uniforms but anything more than that, they didn’t experience and so don’t know how to give.

We have a training that we have called Journey of Life which sensitizes parents to the needs of children, this training transforms parent and child relationships, but it is not enough. We need to encourage parents to be their children’s champions, to be duty bearers who will demand their children’s rights in school and in their community, particularly around participation.

Don’t get me wrong I said I am generalizing but it is still a huge issue for children that they don’t have a voice and feel rejected, under-valued and irrelevant. Imagine you were a child and you had a problem i.e. someone was touching you inappropriately or you were being bullied at school, and the bully was demeaning you, stealing your lunch, making fun of you. You can’t tell your parents, they are not interested, you can’t tell your teacher because, well they just don’t care, you can’t tell any adult what is happening because, well quite frankly your issues are of no concern to any adult. What do you do?

You live with the situation! You might start fighting back and become a bully as well. You may become so depressed you are suicidal, you may start skipping school and eventually drop out. You might start looking for support/love in the wrong places, you might start drinking or taking drugs to cope with the abuse. So often this is what happens to the kids. That is why KTD196 is so essential in their lives. That is what your support provides.

The Right to Participate is such an important right, to be heard, to have your concerns voiced and acted upon but it requires champions to help facilitate the way. We will be creating a far more structured program regarding helping children to realize this right within the home, school, and community in a respectful and comprehensive way.

I hope that helps to explain the new season we are entering. It will also coincide with the progression of the Self Help Groups as they start working together to also help realize their rights as women and the right to participate in predominantly male-dominated structures within the communities they reside.

Thank you for your questions, I hope I have covered everybody. If not just shoot me another email or message and I will respond.

Thank you for being a part of something significant.

God Bless you

Louise

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Thank you so much for being a part of the work we do! You are very important to us! You enable us to continue the work we do! I am very grateful for your support of the work we do and the children we serve, we honestly could not do this without your help. Your gift is what keeps us afloat and able to do the variety of work and depth of work we are able to achieve.

Today I want to talk about Child Participation, which is part of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. South Africa has ratified this convention and incorporated Child Participation into law through the Children's Act of 2005.

So what?

Well imagine as a child, under the age of 18yrs, and you don't have a voice about anything that happens to you at home, at school, or in the community where you live. For the past 9months KTD196 has been looking at Child Participation through the eyes of the children we work with specifically and the broader context in general.

Would it shock you to know that in the rural areas of Limpopo children are not considered capable of making the banalest of decisions? Culturally, giving children a voice is not acceptable, the adults experience perceived disrespect if a child has an alternative view, this is also reflected in how the community will view the adults if children start being involved in critical decision making. Children can make some minor decisions such as what clothes to wear, or buy however they do not generally have a say at any critical level whether in the family, at school, or in the community. Their voices are not heard!

Through the CRSA (Children's Rights SItuational Analysis) we have heard the hearts of the children, they are desperate for new relationships with the adults in their lives. The children identified that both at home and at school the adults dictate their lives, often harshly, and there is no platform for the children to raise their concerns in a safe manner.

Adults view children as incompetent to contribute effectively to any decision-making process.

Direct communication from adults is often very harsh, the children identified that they wanted parents to guide them, and express interest in their feelings, thoughts, and circumstances, but even those conversations were not happening. The children feel isolated, alone, and helpless. All of this contributes to high teenage pregnancy, increased mental health issues, suicide, depression, and high-risk-taking behavior such as involvement with drugs, alcohol, and crime.

Because children are not considered often and actively isolated from major issues, for example, if there is a death of a parent, the children will find out about the death while they are asleep, and it is whispered into their ears over time. Imagine, you don't have a chance to say goodbye, to spend time with the parent knowing they are going to pass, have special memories together, grieve, or attend the funeral as it is not part of the culture for a child.

When asking parents, teachers, and community leaders about creating opportunities for children to participate, and give them a voice it was reiterated that they are not capable of such high-level functioning and would only promote their own agendas or needs. By giving children a voice the adult's view is that they are being weakened by the process. Any alternative view proposed by a child is seen as insurrection. The adults are concerned about how other adults would perceive their "weakness" by inviting comments from children. It is about maintaining control and power. This is an entrenched cultural value that is pervasive throughout society.

KTD196 achieves the goal of greater child participation in the operation of our individual small groups; larger groups and at the district and organizational level within KTD196, we use these opportunities to hear from the children what they would like to do in the coming year, what skills they would like to add to the program, what issues they are facing in the community, school, and home that they need help with, then as KTD196 we try and address these issues through your support.

We are going to develop a project within our program to start changing attitudes through education, awareness raising, and giving children the opportunities to participate to expand their understanding of the power they hold through the law. The children know their rights and responsibilities however we are going to help them realize the right to positive participation and be listened to. We also need to educate adults, especially parents, teachers, and Indunas (Village leaders) as to their roles as Duty Bearers to support the children and to create opportunities for the children to actively participate, this includes having Learner Representative Councils within the various school. Perhaps a junior village committee that has representation at the adult committee. And of course, working with the parents as our first port of call so that when we approach the other adults in the children's lives we have their support to move this process forward. It's a long-term investment in the future of the communities in which we work.

Currently, the government is focused on implementing Sustainable Development Goals throughout South Africa as the current policy, as most parents' focus is on survival, putting food on the table, and surviving from one day to the next. Child Participation is not a priority but with support and encouragement, there is the potential to change the attitudes of all adults.

Imagine by giving the children a voice at the school level, we can start to see the end of violence experienced on the school grounds by bullies and teachers. We can hold adults accountable for their poor behavior. Children can start to feel valued and worthy rather than defeated and victims. At the community level, we will start to have the communities become safe spaces for children rather than places where children are victimized, raped, abused, and murdered. Participation is a powerful tool. Understanding the issues confronting children when they are able to voice their opinions will go a long way in empowering them as young people who can add value to their community and not just be ignored by adults.

There are some case studies that I have read about the power of Child Participation which when effectively used has transformed whole communities, by creating safe spaces in villages, introducing neighborhood watch groups that particularly protect children on the way to and from school, by reinforcing school rules and by creating child-friendly areas such as playgrounds, clinics, and safe houses within communities where children can run if they are feeling threatened. The Self Help Groups (SHGs) will also be a part of this process as we assist the mothers to gain the necessary information and skills to support their children in this process.

This is the journey we are on together. I hope you as are excited as I am. 

God bless you for the support you give us

You are awesome

Louise

Empowering children is part of the process.
Empowering children is part of the process.
Together we can change our circumstances
Together we can change our circumstances

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Itumeleng
Itumeleng

Last week I reported on Gender-Based Violence, with so many children being exposed to violence in the home is it any wonder that violence is all they know? The Children's Rights Situational Analysis KTD196 has been engaged with these last 6 months and has seen the children report issues of violence experienced in the home, at school, and in the communities as a common everyday lived experience for them.

The question of Gender Based Violence continues to raise itself. In 2012, a study found that 77% of women in Limpopo, had experienced some form of Gender-Based Violence, the highest recorded nationally. Many studies have shown that violence is a learned behavior for both men and women. Sadly, more recent studies have not been completed due to covid however, during covid the reports of GBV escalated phenomenally. Can you imagine what it was like for families to be trapped inside their homes with a loved one who had to abruptly stop using alcohol or drugs and go through cold turkey withdrawal for the 4months of severe lockdown we experienced?

The generally accepted causes of GBV include Alcohol abuse, Childhood violence, and Lack of economic independence, however, in my humble opinion, this list needs to include a previous personal experience with watching family members tear each other apart in front of the children.

The CRSA reported on issues of abuse within the home, abuse by teachers at school, and abuse within the communities by adults and children. This abuse would come in many forms from being beaten by adults, verbal abuse, bullying, kicked out of the house, to having food withheld. What was evident in the CRSA was the need for the children to be cared for, supported, encouraged, and loved. Most of the children revealed non of this happened in their homes.

The impact of this abuse was identified by the kids as being a lack of self-esteem, feeling unloved and unworthy, and feeling like they were not seen, not important, or not valuable at any level within their sphere of influence (the home, school, and community). In the children's minds that is why so many fall pregnant, fall into gangs, and struggle with peer pressure because they want to belong and feel loved. This is why KTD196 is so important. We fill the gaps in their need for belonging, acceptance, and love until we work with the parents on understanding what their kids needs. We fill the gaps by changing adult attitudes and values towards children. The kids feel safe with us, especially safe enough to dream. They have a place and a space where they belong, and are encouraged and loved.

Below is a brief story from Itumeleng, what she doesn't share is how beaten down she was, how scared she was, and how intimidated and afraid she was to dream. Having hope in a seemingly hopeless world can destroy you! The hope of something different, the hope of a future, the hope of not repeating the failings of the past. Having hope against all odds is very brave in this place.

Through your support, we are doing just that! Bringing hope to children that see their potential in their parents, that of continuing the mindless repetition of violence and pain. Together we are breaking that cycle. Thank you so much for enabling our kids to DREAM and to have hope!

Blessings

Louise

 

 

Hi Avuxeni,

my name is Itumeleng, I am 20 years old from Limpopo in Tzaneen.  I joined the scout program when I was 11 years old in 2012. Before joining the scout program, I was a shy person who lacked self-confidence and did not care about the well-being of other people and the community. I was on the road to being a bully, at home and at school.

After joining the scout program, I started to gain self-confidence which helped me to stay true to myself. It reminded me of who I am and what I want in life. The scout's program has helped in enhancing my leadership skills and it gave me a new perspective on how I see other people.

When I first started talking about my dream when I joined scouts, I was encouraged, and I was not laughed at. All I've wanted to be is a farmer, my family was not supportive. My scout family was supportive and through their support, I held on to my dreams. 

I’m studying Bachelor of Science in Agriculture at the University of Limpopo, I am in my second year. Life used to terrify me, I was scared about leaving home and going away to study, new places, people, and surroundings. Scouts gave me the courage to go to University and reach for my dreams. I dont have to worry about peer pressure because KTD196 has trained me well, to stand up for my beliefs. I will succeed.

Your support is helping so many of us. Thank you Halaalaa KTD196 you are saving us.

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Organization Information

Keep The Dream196

Location: Modjadjiskloof, Limpopo - South Africa
Website:
Project Leader:
Louise Batty
Tzaneen, Limpopo South Africa
$24,499 raised of $150,000 goal
 
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