Mothers’ Project

What are the challenges that mothers are facing in South Africa?

South Africa faces numerous challenges. Unemployment rates are estimated at 30%. Education standards are low and the official 7% literacy rate is believed to be much higher. There is a direct link between education, employment and income. South Africa has the highest rate of violence against women. It is likely that 1 in 2 women will be the victim of rape and 1 in 4 girls will be sexually abused by sixteen. One in 6 women suffer from domestic violence. Men are more likely to find employment than women. With 45 murders per day prevalent crime and violence contribute to national trauma. It affects the lives of South Africans and their ability to raise a generation of safe and healthy children. More than half of all households are headed by women. Mothers are disempowered and are struggling to meet the needs of their children which contributes to the challenges that we are facing in the community.

30 perc

Unemployment rate


Murders per day

7 percent

Illiteracy rate


Women are victim of rape

mother silhouette
empathy tree

What do mothers mean to our country and communities?

Mothers play a vital role in creating healthy and thriving communities. Bowlby’s Attachment Theory suggests that the mother-child relationship effects social, emotional and cognitive development. The mother-child bond affects a person’s self-worth, their beliefs about the world and their identity. Research suggests that the mother-child bond influences the development of empathy.

Tales of Turning aims to strengthen:

Mother-child bonds

Mother-child bonds

Community bonds

Community bonds

Links to resources

Links to resources

The Tales of Turning project covers the following areas:

Family Identity

A strong family identity is developed when a child knows their family’s shared traditions and values. Family identity is important as it contributes to a child’s self-identity. It gives children a good starting point for them to explore and find their place in the world. Studies report that children who have a strong family identity are less likely to be involved in risk taking behaviour such as underage sex as well as drug and alcohol abuse.


Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. Teaching empathy is important because it contributes to personal, relationship and career success. Empathy makes children more resilient to peer pressure. It helps to decrease the chance that they will be involved in substance abuse, bullying and violence. During the mothers support groups we teach the mothers how to facilitate the development of empathy in their children.


Self-esteem is a confidence in one’s own worth or abilities. Self-esteem is valuable as it effects people’s decisions. It influences whether someone will take care of themselves properly and strive to meet their full potential. It contributes to resilience and the ability to overcome challenges in life. During the program the mothers are taught the importance of developing self-esteem in their children.

Educational activities

During the sessions the mothers learn to make educational toys for their children with recyclable material that they can find around the house. This includes puzzles and fine motor activities. Puzzles teach important skills such as hand-eye co-ordination, problems solving, shape recognition and memory. Fine motor skills are crucial as they play a role in writing, using computers and fastening clothing.

Parenting Skills

High quality parenting is empathetic, cognitively stimulating and moderately controlling. Offering training in effective parenting is vital for children’s development and safety. The skills that children learn at an early age are reliant on their interactions with their caregivers. This includes their cognitive development, socio-emotional skills and behavioural functioning. Therefore this plays a vital role in their success at school and helps them to reach their full potential in life.

Connecting mothers to resources within the community

During the support groups the mothers are asked to share their knowledge of the resources that are available within the community. We continuously assess the needs of the mothers and make referrals to relevant service providers.