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!
Roland, who is dedicated to community upliftment, has collected toys for the children that are part of the Tales of Turning program. Thanks to Roland each mother will be presented with a pack of toys for their children. For children in underprivileged communities who have no access to toys this is an incredible gift. From the Tales of Turning project, thank you Roland!
Last week the Tales of Turning project manager flew to Johannesburg to spend some time with the Vodacom Change the World family. Workshop participants received media training from David O’ Sullivan who has years of experience in this industry. The training that workshop participants attended is of great benefit to their respective projects. The renowned Munnik Marais from CANSA shared fundraising skills which will help to ensure the sustainability of the NGOs who had representatives at this event. As a surprise guest the Mentalist, Gilan Gork, offered workshop guests both entertainment and useful information on interpreting body language. The highlight of the event was the presentations which were prepared by each NGO representative. This was an opportunity to share the details of the Tales of Turning project with a wider audience. Each NGO’s inspiring presentation provided an opportunity for learning and collaboration. After this experience our Tales of Turning team is ready to take the project to the next level!
Tales of Turning would like to thank the SA Home Loans staff who donated to the project in support of vulnerable mothers in South Africa and their children. In this great initiative SA Home Loans staff members have taken the step to combine their donations every month and award it to a deserving NGO. Tales of Turning were the grateful recipients of these funds last year. This act of kindness is an example of how we can all make a difference by contributing to community upliftment. Small Acts Change the World!
As the year drew to a close it was time to celebrate and reflect. During our mothers support groups we held celebrations to honor our participants and the valuable contributions that mothers make to our society. Our mothers weren’t the only ones getting to celebrate as our volunteers hosted a Christmas party to conclude our children’s homework group. The children enjoyed face painting, singing, dancing and fun party games. In amongst the celebrations there was plenty of time to reflect on the progress that the Tales of Turning project has made over the past six months. We enjoyed hearing the mother’s feedback on how they felt “respected” and “honoured” during the groups. We also responded to the needs of the mothers by adding additional aspects to our program. Activities to develop family identity and share family stories were particularly successful. Our mothers also enjoyed learning how to make toys for their children and how they could facilitate development in their young kids. During our sessions the mothers shared their expert knowledge about their lives and different ways that they find to spend time with their children. The program built on these ideas and emphasised the importance of spending quality family time together. All in all it has been a year of growth, development and sharing.
The Tales of Turning mothers groups gathered to learn to make early childhood development toys for their children. The activities were all made from recyclable materials that can be found around the house. Donated fabric was also transformed into fun and educational toys. The mothers were enthusiastic about these activities as it gave them an opportunity to participate in their children’s education and play a role in their development. These activities also gave the mothers many opportunities to spend time with their children. In particular the mothers of blind and deaf children found it beneficial to learn how to make activities that would facilitate their children’s development. Educational activities included puzzles made from magazines and cardboard as well as threading activities made from pasta and string. These activities are vital for getting children ready for school as they develop fine and gross motor skills. Activities such as playing with homemade play dough and colouring in pictures are important for preparing children to write. If children start school without these capabilities, they are often at a disadvantage especially in large classes where teachers are not able to give them individual attention. In addition to this the mothers are given the skills to play a role in their children’s education which is empowering and strengthens the mother-child bond.
The Tales of Turning mothers groups expressed an interest in learning new skills. The mothers groups felt that learning sewing would be a great start as they could use this skill at home while they are looking after their children.
The mothers learnt how to sew on buttons and adjust hems so that they could repair or alter their children’s clothing. Not only did the mothers learn a new skill, they also got to take home the head scarfs and beautiful bags that they made. Fashion designer, Xaviar Dunstan, was a guest at our sessions to teach us how to make patterns, cut out designs and sew basic stitches by hand.
The mothers left the session wearing their stylish green patterned head scarfs, proud to have mastered a new skill. As it was school holidays some of the children had great fun joining us in learning how to sew.
Tales of Turning is dedicated to providing support to vulnerable mothers in South Africa so that they in turn can offer support to their children. During the past few months we have set up Mothers Support groups in Durban. Through Narrative Therapy techniques, such as the Tree of Life, the mothers have shared more about their stories as well as their dreams for their own lives and those of their children.
During the sessions the mothers expressed how important their children are to them. In accordance with their hopes for their children one of our mothers groups decided to run a homework center every Saturday for the vulnerable children in their community.
With sponsorship from Vodacom, Tales of Turning, provided the resources for the homework group so that the children have a space where they can complete school projects. Educational resources, such as puzzles and worksheets, contribute to the development of the children’s skills. Volunteers from the wider community have joined the group to support the mothers in their new endeavor.
During one of our meetings we were joined by Occupational Therapist, Tammy Hunter, who taught the mothers activities that they can do with their children to help them to reach their developmental milestones. We learnt fine motor activities as well as exercises to help children with reading and writing. The mothers were excited to start using these new skills at home and at the homework center.
This month Tales of Turning released their first short film. After completing a film course for NGOs run by Grace Aid and Film Craft, we started preparing to write, film and edit a short visual story.
The film offers a glimpse into the Tales of Turning project which works with vulnerable mothers in South Africa. As the story grows with the Tree of Life it offers viewers insight into Narrative Therapy techniques as well as the hopes and dreams of vulnerable mothers.
The film was directed by actress and singer Caitlin Kilburn with animation work by experienced animator Tessa Comrie. Londiwe Ngema took the leading role in the film to represent the vulnerable mothers who are part of the Tales of Turning project.
After seeing our script brought to life we were proud to screen the film at a film festival which was hosted at Grace Family Church. The evening featured films from eleven NGOs and was attended by the wider Umhlanga community as well as NGO representatives. Not only was it a fun occasion, it was also an exciting opportunity to learn more about the other NGOs who are working hard to play a role in community upliftment.
Take a look at the video on the Tales of Turning YouTube Channel: