Recently, I had the opportunity to attend the Unyoke Peacebuilding retreat hosted by Nomfundo Walaza and Chris Spies at Volmoed in Hermanus. Read our Tales of Turning blog for a glimpse into my life-changing experience.
Unyoke created a breathing space, a hiatus from the constant motion of everyday life. A chance to pause, reflect and piece together my story. It was a process of deep internal journeying with interludes of tranquil walks, delicious meals and art classes.
The thoughtfulness of the facilitators, as well as the caring of the retreat participants, held a safe space that was alive with the joy and pain of life. Our reflections enabled me to go deeper into the values that have shaped my journey thus far and that shine a light along future pathways. Unearthing the threads of my life and making them visible has given me the courage to leap into the future with open arms.
Unyoke was an opportunity for me to work on my internal processes, to create a solid foundation for my work. It strengthened my belief that transformation needs to take place within ourselves in order to carry out meaningful Peacebuilding and community work. This strong foundation allows me to make aligned decisions as I go forward.
The Peacebuilders, who joined together at Unyoke, carried with them the histories and stories of destinations from across the globe as well as their personal experiences. As they spoke it transported me to different places and times. Our meaningful conversations and connections offer me sustenance as I step forward into the next phase of my life and work. As we stay connected after the retreat, it brings me hope that I am not alone on my journey.
Unyoke is a precious gift that I cherish as part of the evolution of myself and Tales of Turning.
Help support vulnerable mothers and their children by donating to the Tales of Turning Different.org campaign. Here is how your contribution will help:
This project will empower 30 mothers with the skills that they need to help their children reach their full potential.
The basis for a healthy society starts in the early years of childhood. Children who feel safe and loved at home are more likely to complete their education and become productive members of our society. The Tales of Turning project runs support groups for vulnerable mothers in Durban. This includes teaching parenting skills and showing the mothers how to make educational toys for their children out of recyclable materials. We teach the mothers how to develop self-esteem and empathy in their children. A vital part of the Tales of Turning project is connecting the mothers to resources within the community.
Click here to show your support for vulnerable mothers and their children: Tales of Turning Campaign
Tales of Turning is excited to announce that Ambrosia Corner Café has joined our Cup of Hope Campaign. We would like to thank Ambrosia Corner Café for uniting with Tales of Turning to help support vulnerable mothers and their children. You can get involved by keeping an eye out for the Cup of Hope Campaign date, visiting Ambrosia Corner Café, buying a cup of coffee and donating R5 to the Tales of Turning Project. If you want to find out more, here is what the campaign is all about.
Looking for a cup of Hope…
The Tales of Turning project unites and empowers vulnerable mothers. If you empower a mother, you empower her entire family. Your donation will not only help teach mothers parenting skills but also educate them on ways they can support their children’s education. You will be opening doors for the mothers, allowing them to have strengthened relationships with each other and their community.
The Tales of Turning project so far has manged to help an incredible 75 mothers and 150 children of Cato Manor, Durban. Determined to raise the funds needed to continue our work, the Tales of Turning team is on the search for a little support, asking all the local coffee shops for a cup of hope. Coffee is defined by many as a cup of hope or the ultimate survival juice. It’s one of the few things that people just get. It’s an unspoken mutual understanding between everyone in the world. We are asking all the local coffee shops of Durban to dedicate one day and help us raise awareness and valuable funds.
We are proud to announce that Tales of Turning has been selected for the different.org crowdfunding platform. The funds from this campaign will enable 30 mothers to complete the Tales of Turning program. You can help to empower vulnerable mothers by donating to the project – just click on the following link: https://different.org/projects/empowering-vulnerable-mothers/
Different.org aims to change South Africa by helping to fundraise for selected projects that are making a difference in our communities. The crowdfunding platform is sponsored by DifferentGroup so all of the money goes directly to the project without any deductions. Their rigorous selection process ensures that only outstanding projects are included on their crowdfunding platform.
What does it mean to be a mother? It is important to discuss the meaning attached to motherhood in our communities. This includes both your personal views on motherhood and the wider cultural beliefs. Mothers face many pressures and challenges. This is especially true for women who have been further marginalized by their race and class. Last week during a mothers’ support group the women who gathered together expressed how society makes them feel that they are not “good enough” mothers. They shared how they feel the need to me superhuman and to never make mistakes. Other challenges that mothers are facing include unemployment and violence.
It is important to remember that motherhood is an individual experience that is unique to each woman. How we choose to be a mother is a personal choice. Mothers come in different forms and women may decide to adopt either by choice or out of necessity. Whatever your ideas about motherhood are, taking care of children is often challenging and it is important to take time out for yourself. Here are 4 ways that you can self-nurture.
Take some time every week to do something that recharges and revitalises you.
What helps you relax? What hobbies or activities do you enjoy doing? By scheduling some time every week that is just for you, you can make it a habit to take care of yourself. As everyone is different it is important to choose a way to spend your downtime that is best for you. You could choose to go for a run or cuddle up in front of TV to watch your favourite movie. You may want to spend time with friends or to set aside some alone time. The important thing is that you take some time to focus on yourself and to do what you enjoy.
Know where to go for comfort
Where do you get your emotional support from? It is important to have people around you that love you unconditionally for who you really are. Friendship satisfaction plays a vital role in self-care. Knowing where to go for comfort is also important. This could be a friend, family member or partner. Having someone who values you for more than just your role as a mother is vital to your emotional well-being. In addition to making you feel valued as a person these people also offer you a safe space to discuss your feelings. Sometimes just taking time out to talk everything through can offer great emotional release.
Rediscover your hopes and dreams
What are your hopes and dreams? The hopes and dreams of mothers often get pushed aside. It can be helpful to revisit your dreams and identify the skills that you have to make your dreams a reality. This can be a useful reminder of what is important to you. You may want to start working towards your dreams or you may choose to put them somewhere safe so that you can start working towards them at a time that is right for you.
Evaluate your beliefs about motherhood
It is important to evaluate your beliefs about motherhood. The beliefs and ways of thinking which feel supportive are good ones to keep. The beliefs that are causing you anxiety or making you feel pressurised need to be examined further. Ask yourself where this belief comes from? Sometimes finding out the root of the belief can help you to analyse it and break it down. Is it a belief that was passed down from your own mother? Sometimes the stories told to us by society are so powerful that we believe that they are true without questioning them. By questioning the authenticity of these beliefs you can create a space to be a mother in a way that feels right to you.
It is important to remember that you are the expert of your own life. Everyone is different so some methods of self-nurture may work for you while others may not be a good fit. These suggestions are to get you started on the journey of self-care so you can start adding your own to the list.
This week Tales of Turning was privileged to host a Parent Effectiveness Training workshop by Lome Cronje. Lome is a trained social worker and play therapist who has been practicing for 20 years. She also trains adults to council children. In 2015 she completed the Parent Effectiveness Instructors Training so she can offer these skills to other parents. P.E.T was developed by DR. Thomas Gordon. Dr. Thomas Gordon is a licenced clinical psychologist who has achieved international acclaim for his work including three Nobel Peace Prize Nominations. He is the author of numerous publications and books. His Parent Effectiveness Training has helped millions of parents across the globe. In Lome’s two hour workshop the mothers learnt how to communicate with their children more effectively. An important part of the workshop was teaching the mothers how to effectively support their children when their children are facing challenging situations. Not only did the mothers learn useful skills they also had an opportunity to share their worries and fears about motherhood. One wonderful activity saw the mothers blowing all their fears into a balloon and releasing them together as a group. When we were enjoying juice and cake after the workshop the mothers had an opportunity to share with me what they thought of the session. One mother summed up the groups thoughts “We are excited about what we learnt today. We feel that we have learnt so much to go home and use with our children”
Tales of Turning hosted a celebration to honour the mothers in the Cato Manor community. Being a mother can be challenging and we wanted to acknowledge the hard work that mothers are doing to raise their children in challenging circumstances. The dedicated members of our mothers group received certificates for participating in our seven week program which includes parenting effectiveness training. The program teaches the mothers how to make educational activities for their children out of recyclable materials that they can find around the house. The mothers also learnt how to develop empathy and self-esteem in their children. The awards ceremony featured speeches by Bongiwe Mthembu and Project Manager Jenna-Lee Strugnell. Phelo Muyanga gave an inspirational speech to the mothers and handed out the certificates. One of our group participants, Gcwalisile Mcineka, told the audience more about her experience participating in the mothers’ group program. Our group participants were encouraged to invite other mothers from the community and we were pleased to see lots of new faces. The media were there to document our event and other members of the public joined in to show their support. The event was an opportunity for people to learn more about the program that the Tales of Turning project runs. Guests were given the opportunity to view an exhibition which featured photos by Matthew Willman (sponsored by Vodacom), Vincent Strugnell and Preston Kyd. The mothers enjoyed a guest performance by singer Linda Gcwensa. A highlight of the day was a performance by our youth dancing group which was led by by Njongo Capoeira. We were fortunate enough to have Ranga Media at the event to document this special occasion. After lots of hard work by the Tales of Turning team we were pleased that the event was such a success.
If you are wandering what Capoeira is all about read this informative article which was shared by Tales of turning volunteer, George Mthembu, who is one of our Capoeira instructors for the Tales of Turning youth program.
“Capoeira is an AfroBrazilian martial art that combines elements of dance, acrobatics and music, and is sometimes referred to as a game. It was developed in Brazil mainly by African slaves with native Brazilian influences, probably beginning in the 16th century. Under suppression, Capoeira was outlawed under Penal code around the 1890s eventually being admittedly recognized as a national sport only much later. Today, Capoeira is practiced throughout the world. In South Africa under the mentorship of Mestre Evaldo Bogado de Almeida and other cultural leaders of Rio de Janeiro, the Durban Contemporary groups have been growing from strength to strength in sharing the position change that Capoeira brings communities. Celebrating the African and Brazilian culture in a dynamic mutual exchange.”
“Tales of Turning works with NJONGO CAPOEIRA which was founded in 2011 by Patrick and Natasha Mkhize. The Njongo Capoeira initiative is a movement that seeks to use the art as a medium for community skills development and self help. The isiZulu term “injongo” means purpose or aim. Social mobility being one of the main principles. Activities include music, movements and team building exercises. A sustainable healthy lifestyle for the young and old alike.”
Last month Tales of Turning launched their youth dancing program. This exciting initiative was born out of the community needs that were raised during our mothers support groups. Numerous children have no activities to be involved in after school.This results in an increased chance that children will engage in risk taking behavior. It also increases the chances of girls becoming pregnant before they are ready to be mothers. We decided to offer the boys and girls dancing classes once a week. This gives them the opportunity to engage with positive adult role models. The children also learn a new skill while they have fun with their friends. Dancing is an opportunity for instructors to develop self-esteem in the children of underprivileged communities. George and Patrick as well as their team from NJONGO CAPOEIRA, are responsible for running a group with the boys in Cato Manor. We are over the moon to be able to welcome such inspiring teachers to our project.
“Have we ever wondered a mothers silent cries? Her struggles, her fears and her worries? Do we ever have time for this in our busy lives? Have we ever thought of the sacrifices she has done in order to make our lives happier, and her dreams cut short to make our dreams come true?”
― Ama H.Vanniarachchy
Mothers in South Africa face numerous challenges. Violence, poverty and limited healthcare are just some of the many struggles that they are up against. Mothers play a vital role in raising children and they contribute to a healthy society. It is therefore important to take note of the challenges that women are facing to meet the needs of their children. Children who have a safe home are better able to make the most of educational opportunities. They are also more resilient when facing difficulties later on in life. The basis for a healthy society starts in the early years of childhood.
Vulnerable mothers in Durban are joining hands to form support groups. The support groups unite mothers against the many struggles that they face on a day to day basis. Under the Narrative Foundation, the Tales of Turning Project provides a safe space where women can tell their stories and delve into the hidden possibilities which are located within themselves. The Tales of Turning project aims to generate aspiration and confidence in mothers as well as creating a space where they can identify their strengths and skills. The issues raised by the groups will be documented in films and various art forms to create awareness in the wider community.
Tales of Turning Project Manager, Jenna-Lee Strugnell, added ‘The Tales of Turning project honours mother in South Africa and acknowledges the challenges that they are facing. With sponsorship from Vodacom and the help of volunteers we are igniting social change in our community.”
Tales of Turning supports vulnerable mothers so that they can meet the needs of their children. This includes teaching parenting skills and showing the mothers how to make educational toys for their children out of recyclable materials. We teach the mothers how to develop self esteem and empathy in their children. Studies show that self esteem and empathy help children to reach their full potential. The Tales of Turning project helps to build family identity so that the children know what their family values and traditions are. A vital part of the project is connecting the mothers to resources within the community and wider community. This includes courses where they learn to sew as well workshops that teach business skills.
Join us in supporting vulnerable mothers and their children. Together we can make a difference. Get involved in our community and share your stories about motherhood on the Tales of Turning facebook page. You can increase the impact of the project by donating your skills such as marketing, sewing and graphic design work. Small Acts Change the World!