KNYSNA NEWS - Sinethemba youth development centre is always up to the challenge of keeping children off the streets, and their latest venture is the launch of a programme that focuses on building or rebuilding father-and-son relationships.
The first "breakaway" camp for the Father and Son drive was held earlier this year and six fathers actively participated in activities designed to help close the communication gap with their sons.
The centre's director Michael Smith said over the years they have observed how it was mostly only single mothers approaching them for help and advice. "We then looked into this and wanted to bring in the fathers and create a platform where these relationships can be rebuilt, and to inspire and encourage a new mindset where fathers are not the antagonists or abusers. We wanted to change the narrative and it is still an ongoing process."
He said their battle with children suspended from primary schools continues. "Twenty-eight of them were referred to Sinethemba in April this year and they were all reintegrated back into the schools. We owe this success rate to the dedicated team we have."
He said while some of the problems might emanate from the children not having healthy relationships with their fathers, there are some who don't have any kind of a relationship with theirs, "so having our social auxiliary worker Siphamandla Halahala run a seven-day behaviour management intervention programme at the school plays a major role". "Through this intervention we hope to keep the children at school instead of sending them to Sinethemba," Smith said.
This programme, he added, is only currently being conducted with Sunridge Primary School, but they wish to extend it to other schools as well. The programme runs weekly from 08:00 until 14:00 for seven days.
In the midst of all of this, the centre lost David Crowe who founded the organisation, when he passed away recently, Smith said. He paid tribute to Crowe for having created an opportunity for vulnerable children and their families to rebuild their lives and become responsible and self-reliant members of society.
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