One year later…how Mother’s Day Connect sparked a special friendship

One year later…how Mother’s Day Connect sparked a special friendship

4 May 2017 in Inspiration

Meeting Sandisiwe and baby Lulo for the first time.

Meeting Sandisiwe and baby Lulo for the first time.

Sometimes unlikely places spark very special friendships.

Last year, I went to meet a woman I had never met before as part of the first Mother’s Day Connect experience. I had organized the group, phoned the hospitals, done the media interviews and yet, as I travelled up in the lift at Karl Bremer with my mother, the butterflies in my stomach fluttered like crazy.

Who would I be meeting? What would this mom think of me? Would my visit be welcomed or seen as an intrusion?

Even for an extrovert like me, an intimate connection with a stranger is a fairly daunting task. As my nerves stirred, I reminded myself that I was meeting a fellow woman and a fellow mom. We would definitely have those two things in common. Even if we couldn’t understand each other’s language, I felt hopeful that our shared motherhood could be communicated through smiles and gestures.

As it turns out, I had absolutely nothing to worry about.

The first thing I noticed about Sandisiwe were her bright red, perfectly pedicured toenails. She lay regal in her hospital bed with little Lulo on her chest. Her beautiful braids swept up on top of her head and she was smiling. It was very difficult for me to believe that she had given birth to a baby just hours earlier (a point my mother and I couldn’t stop telling her – she looked amazing -we thought it was actually a bit unfair that someone could look that good after just pushing out a human being!).

We introduced ourselves, we listened, we shared our birth stories, we laughed, we marveled at Lulo’s ten tiny fingers and toes. As I watched Sandi cradling Lulo at her breast, I fondly remembered my own introductions to Motherhood and the familiar weight of a newborn on your chest. In the car on our ride home, my mother commented that she felt the same thing – meeting Sandisiwe transported her back 30 years to the emotional high and sweet naivety of new motherhood.

At the end of our visit, I felt incredibly honoured (and a bit emotional) to have met Sandisiwe and to have shared the smallest moment at the very start of her motherhood story. Encouraging her encouraged me in more ways than I could have expected. We exchanged contact numbers, and well, here we are one year in to our unlikely friendship and feeling very grateful to still be journeying as mothers together.

I asked Sandisiwe if she would be willing to share the experience from her point of view. Here are her answers:

Tell us a bit about the day your daughter was born. How were you feeling?

 

At first I was so scared, having no idea how it feels to be a mom and not even sure how to hold her because she was so small. That day was both the scariest and the best and most special day of my life. I had no idea I was carrying a daughter and that was also a big surprise! She is the most precious thing to me.

 

Love at first sight!

Love at first sight!

 

Can you tell us the meaning of her name?

 

Her name is Lulo Lubone. It’s actually 2 different names, meaning “Behold the love of God”. It was really God’s love for her be born. God has been showing love to me all my life but through her I really got to see the true and pure love of God.

You were at Karl Bremer when we did our first Mother’s Day Connect visit. How did the visit make you feel?

 

I felt so honoured. I was not expecting anything like that but your visit and your presence made me loosen up a bit. I got to see that not only my family cares about me, but also people around me – people I haven’t met before are actually there for me. You taught me true love to mankind and I wish to pass that kind of love on to others.

Was it awkward receiving visitors you didn’t know? Did it get better after you started talking (it’s okay, you can be honest ;))

 

(Laughing…) It was kind of awkward but it was also a pleasant surprise. It’s always good meeting new people and getting to make a conversation with them. I just wish my baby was old enough to see the love that you showed her that day. I got to realise that there are good people out there and I hope the Lord blesses you for that.

Our dream is to ensure that every new mom who gives birth on Mother’s Day is visited by other women who care. What do you think about this?

 

This is an awesome idea, being visited on Mother’s day , especially after giving birth to your first child, is what every new mother needs. This actually gives the mother a realisation that “I am really a mom now” – that’s how I felt that day. I knew then how to show love and support to my baby from the day she was born onwards.

Sandi and Lulo

Kisses for sweet baby Lulo

How important is encouragement and kind words to new moms?

Being a mom for the first time is so scary! You have to think about so many things, and some people even end up leaving their babies there in hospital because they don’t know how they are going to look after their babies. Kind words of encouragement to a new mom helps a lot.  It helps a new mom to realise that their child’s birth can actually be the best day instead of the worst. It helps new moms to actually see things differently and know that there are other women and moms who are there for her and the baby – other women who are there to help her if she has questions about looking after her new baby. Getting to hear the other mother’s experiences of being a first-time mom makes one ease up a bit and realise how great it is to be a mom.

What would you say to women who are keen to volunteer for Mother’s Day Connect 2017, but are feeling shy or awkward about visiting a new mom they don’t know?

Go for it!!! Even if it feels awkward, do it. You might be helping another soul there. She might not say it but that is the best gift anyone could ever give. Just get there and show her some love. That’s all any woman needs to start their motherhood journey.

Any words of encouragement for pregnant moms who are expecting their first babies soon?

A baby is the best give given to mankind by God; the worst days are over now. You are about to receive the most precious thing ever. Wait for it and you will never regret it. Your days will be lightened every morning you see that precious angel. And oh…..Congratulations new moms!!!!

Sandisiwe and Lulo, who is almost one!

Sandisiwe and Lulo, who is almost one year’s old!

If you would like to join a visiting team for Mother’s Day Connect, please go to the official Facebook event page, or head to the Mother’s Day Connect page on our website.

Mother’s Day Connect 2017: Everything you need to know about being a Team Leader

Mother’s Day Connect 2017: Everything you need to know about being a Team Leader

27 April 2017 in General

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You want to be a part of Mother’s Day Connect but your nearest hospital isn’t listed yet. You enquire on the Facebook group and are asked to help us get a team started by signing up to be a team leader. But what exactly does that mean?

Mother’s Day Connect is a movement of ordinary women, most of whom are mothers, who want to share the joy of their Mother’s Day with new moms who are still in hospital with their babies. What makes Mother’s Day Connect so special is the coming together of women to make this event happen in maternity units across the country. As a very small organisation, Embrace is unable to reach (or even know about) all the different birth facilities. The growth of Mother’s Day Connect is solely reliant on women who are willing to put their hands up to make difference.

What are the responsibilities of a Team Leader?

  1. You let us know about a hospital/ birth centre near you that we don’t currently have on our list.
  2. We may ask you to assist us with contacting the hospital to gain permission for a visit. Don’t worry – we provide you will all the information a hospital will need, including an official letter and a script you can read if you’re not sure what to say. Important to note: If this process is difficult for you, we’re happy to pick up the phone on your behalf – just let us know!
  3. Once permission is granted, you complete a very simple form for us so that we know the time of your visit and can officially list your team on our website and Facebook group page so others can join you.
  4. You will receive any messages from us to share with your team
  5. You will receive the final list of volunteers who have signed up via our web page a few days prior to Mother’s Day so you know who to expect to join you. If the group is small, you may want to create a WhatsApp group to make communication easier.
  6. We will encourage you to chat with the other volunteers via your team’s Facebook post (we’ll set that up for you), or via the WhatsApp group, so that you can decide what you would like to bring along to your visit for the moms and nurses.
  7. On the day, you will meet with the hospital liaison a few minutes prior to the visit to introduce yourself and the team.
  8. After the visit, you (or another team mate you’ve designated) will post pictures to the Facebook group so we can all see how it went.

Can I co-lead with someone else?

Absolutely! In fact, we encourage it – especially for hospitals with more than 10 beds. Ask a friend or two to help you. The women who lead together in groups last year had a lot of fun!

Are leaders/ co-leaders responsible for getting goodies together for the mothers?

No, not necessarily. This is a team effort and everybody should be involved in making the visit special for the moms and nurses. If the team is big, you might want to divide up responsibilities so that some people bring cake for the nurses and others focus on putting together items for the moms. Please note: There is NO obligation to bring elaborate goodie bags for the moms. Whilst we obviously want them to feel special, a cupcake and a Mother’s Day card (we’ll have an official one you can print) along with a friendly and encouraging visit is a wonderful gift for any new mom. If you are able to access corporate sponsorship, baby samples, donations from friends, then please feel free to do this, but it is not a requirement.

I need some help or advice, who can I contact?

You can contact the Embrace hub team at any time, and we will do our best to help you. Drop us an email at mothersday@embrace.org.za or contact us via Facebook.

 

Mother’s Day Connect 2017

Mother’s Day Connect 2017

21 April 2017 in General

MDC BANNER (with protea)

One Hour. Every Mother.

Welcoming new moms to the sisterhood of motherhood

What do you love about Mother’s Day? The hugs from your children? The treasured, tatty heart-shaped craft your child made you at school? A love letter from your partner? Quality time with your own mother? Breakfast in bed, special gifts or an opportunity for some personal time?

For some women, Mother’s Day is a grand celebration. For others, the day goes by completely unnoticed, over-shadowed by the complexities of life.

Is there a middle ground? An opportunity for us to honour the vital role that mothers play in society without giving in to the temptations of commercialism? Can we, the mothers of South Africa, play a meaningful role in uplifting and encouraging our fellow mothers…even on a day we might have claimed for ourselves?

Women around the country will be giving birth over Mother’s Day weekend. For many, due to tough realities, they will start their journey of motherhood feeling overwhelmed by the responsibility of bringing a child into this world. They might feel lonely. They might feel scared. They might have desperately wanted this child. They might have not. Some are starting as single mothers. Some are young. Some are fierce and brave. Some may have had a baby shower. Others might have nothing to dress their baby in to take them home.

What if we chose to share our Mother’s Day? If we took the gratitude that bubbles in us when we think of our own motherhood journey and used it to stretch the sisterhood circle just that little bit bigger? We could make it tangible. Together, we could ensure that every woman who gives birth on Mother’s Day is told that she is wonderful and strong, and that her baby is a gift to our world. This isn’t about grand gestures or education. There are no super-heroes. This is about acknowledgement. “I see you. I see your baby. Thanks for your sacrifice, Mama, and Happy Mother’s Day.”

We’ll keep it simple:

1 hour of our day

1 woman to another

Imagine women gathering at every public birthing facility with the sole purpose of reclaiming Mother’s Day as a day for ALL mothers, starting with our country’s newest moms. Imagine a day of respectful celebration and gentle affirmation and the heavenly scent of new life 🙂

We need you to join us. Bring your mom, your sisters and your friends. Start a group for your nearest hospital or join an existing team. Help us ensure that every new mom feels special this Mother’s Day!

Join and follow the discussion on Facebook!

 

 

Kids @ The Centre – Video

Kids @ The Centre – Video

10 March 2017 in General

We’re so excited to finally be able to share this video with you!
Check it out – maybe you’ll spot yourself or someone in your family

1000Day Champion: Sr Dannalene Noach

1000Day Champion: Sr Dannalene Noach

3 March 2017 in 1000Day Champions, General

IMG_1201 This is the first of the Embrace 1000Day Champion features where we will be highlighting individuals who are doing incredible work around the first 1000 days. Our first champion is Sister Dannelene Noach, a wonderful and inspiring woman with a real heart for empowering people. She has been a nurse for 44 years and  is currently based at the Mitchells Plain District Hospital where we  had a conversation with her about the work that she does, how she got where she is, her one wish and other nuggets of gold in between.

Please tell us a bit about your background, where you grew up, etc.?

I am one of eight children, born and raised in the rural Western Cape on a mission station. My father was the headmaster of the school at the mission. The nearest town was Malmesbury so we went to High School there. I am now a professional nurse with a great love and passion for women and health issues affecting them. I enjoy sewing and knitting in my spare time and would love to transfer these skills to other women in the community.

You’ve mentioned that you’re a mom. Can you tell us a bit about your children?

Yes, I’ve got a son and a daughter. I also have a granddaughter.

What drew you to nursing?

My mother was a teacher but because of the struggles in the community in which I grew up, both my parents were involved in community work. My mother was delivering babies although she was never a qualified midwife. Maybe her own eight children gave her the knowledge to deliver.

She once asked me “don’t you want to be a midwife one day?”

So we, my sister and I, used to accompany my mother when she had to go deliver babies during the night. Most of the time, my mother was asking me to go with her. I was the one who made fires for the water because the water must be warm to bath the baby and all these things. So because of my mother and father’s love for people, most of us in our family took it on.

 

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“We cannot be in control. God is in control” 

Please tell us a bit about the community in which you work

Mitchell’s Plain has different layers. There are different socio-economic levels and all the sins of the world are in this community. Drug addiction, high crime rate and high birth rate – we see it here. Burden of disease – we see it all in this hospital.

And what would you say a day in the life of Sr Noach looks like? What does your job entail?

I lead a team and I must make sure that everyone in the team has the correct knowledge and that they have the correct attitude towards the people we are caring for. In a normal day of my life, the most important thing for me is people. When I get out of bed I thank the Lord for waking me up. When I get to work, I meet the staff I am working with and we start with prayer, irrespective of what religion you follow. We then update one another on what happened the last couple of hours. Most of our day-to-day work includes delivering babies and providing care for both the babies and their mothers.

What are some of the additional ways in which you support moms?

The hospital runs initiatives to support women such as the Mother and Baby Friendly Initiative, PMTCT (Preventing Mother To Child Transmission) initiative, and the First 1000 days initiative which has an element of community outreach. I cannot work here and not have my hand in the community. I really love community work.

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“We need to build women in the community to do better, to be empowered, to take care of each others children”

How did the idea of the baby wraps come about and why is Skin-to-Skin so important?

The wraps were inspired by the mother and baby friendly initiative. When the baby is skin to skin with the mother it emulates the feeling of still being inside the womb for the baby. The baby feels your heart rate, he or she hears your voice and feels your body temperature. The best place for growth and development for the baby is on the mother’s chest because it’s the most heated area of the body. Baby-wearing also makes breastfeeding easier for the mother. So because we understand the value of skin-to-skin between mother and baby, I take the time to source the material and we (my friend and I) work together, cutting and sewing the wraps in the evenings after work.

How is it currently being funded?

We host raffles to acquire the materials. The hospital has supported us twice with monetary donations to buy the material and accessories we need to make the wraps, but most of the time it’s on us to make it happen.

What is the vision of this project?

I want this to grow to a point where it empowers women in the community, showing them how easy it to make these wraps and use the skill to earn an income for themselves. I would like to see this growing as a project that is helping up-skill the women in the community.

-Sr Noach demonstrates how the baby wraps work

 

If you could have one wish come true what would that be?

My one wish would be to have women empowered so that they can unleash their own potential to reach their destiny.

For people who would like to support you, how can they do so?

Donations (knitting needles for the blankets we make for the new babies, wool, sewing materials, sewing machines etc.) would be a great way to support this. I would also greatly appreciate people taking their time to transfer their sewing or knitting skills to other women in Mitchell’s Plain so we can grow this project and ensure every baby benefits from skin to skin care.

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“Obedience and trust in the Lord will lead you to your destiny.”

To get in touch with Sr Noah, you can email her on Dannelene.Noach@westerncape.gov.za

Go to our Facebook page to see more about our 1000 Day Champions!

Celebrating Baby Bumps in Mitchells Plain!

Celebrating Baby Bumps in Mitchells Plain!

27 February 2017 in General

Mitchells Plain Bump Photoshoot

Last week was Pregnancy Education Week (18 – 24 Feb) by the Western Cape Department of Health and we thought what better way to get involved than with a pregnancy photoshoot!?

We went out to Mitchells Plain District Hospital, where we were welcomed by the amazing Sr Noach who led us to the antenatal ward. To say we received the warmest welcome from the rest of the staff would be an understatement. Because it was Pregnancy Education Week, when we arrived, a session on Family Planning was taking place in the waiting area of the antenatal section. This worked out pretty well for our team because it meant that there were many pregnant moms. Win!

How it worked is that we setup the photo station and invited the moms to come snap a photo with a heart sign showing the number of weeks their baby had been growing. We printed each mom a photo to keep – which was definitely the highlight.

The First 1000 days of a child’s life (from conception) is a magical time of brain development and every child deserves to be celebrated during this period!

You can view the rest of the photos here: Pregnancy Photoshoot

Thank you to all the awesome moms who participated and to these beautiful ladies for being so helpful and welcoming 🙂

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And to the rest of this wonderful team of 1000-day champions!

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‘Motherhood and Me’ virtual book club

‘Motherhood and Me’ virtual book club

13 January 2017 in News

Motherhood and Me

 
10 moms, 10 weeks, growing the sisterhood of motherhood, virtually.
Learn to embrace what is wonderful about motherhood and gracefully survive the rest. The byline of Lindy Bruce’s book, Motherhood and Me, sums it up beautifully. Motherhood is a complex journey best travelled together. If you’ve ever wanted to join a book club but have been unable to due to time or transport or finances OR if you’re a new mom looking for support and friendship, come and join us.

All you need to join is WhatsApp, data or a Wi-Fi connection and one hour a week to chat with us. We’ll send you a copy of the book and a reading guideline. Each week for 10 weeks we’ll ‘get together’ for one hour in a WhatsApp group to discuss a particular chapter we’ve read and get to know each other a bit better.
Our pilot group launches on Monday 6 February at 8pm, so get your kids to bed, make a cup of tea, put your feet up and come read and chat with us 

Can I join?
We only have 10 spots available for the first group, so if you meet the criteria, fill out this form ASAP so you don’t miss out.
• Must be a mother
• Must reside in Cape Town
• Must have at least one child under 2 years old – first time moms especially welcome!
• Must have WhatsApp on your phone and sufficient data/ Wi-Fi connection to chat
• Must commit to reading ahead each week (the chapters are short).
• Must be available to chat during our group time from 8pm – 9pm for 10 Mondays, starting on the 6th of February 2017 and ending 10 April 2017.

Sign up here to join the first moms virtual book club.

Kids @ The Centre – celebrating Cape Town’s children

Kids @ The Centre – celebrating Cape Town’s children

24 November 2016 in Inspiration, News

Photo by Belia Oh

Kids @ The Centre. Story time fun! Photo by Belia Oh

Last Saturday the Company’s Garden came alive with the sounds of childhood. Cape Town Embrace joined up with the Cape Town Partnership to make their City Walk Saturday a unique experience for the young families in the mother city. This celebration of childhood was held in honour of Universal Children’s Day.

We called the day ‘Kids @ The Centre’ because that was the dream – to bring as many young children to the city’s centre as a visual inspiration board for everyone. The vision: Imagine the possibilities if Cape Tonians united to support young children to reach their full potential. Imagine Cape Town being declared a city for children.
We knew we could never pull off an experience of this magnitude on our own and so we quickly started inviting child-focused organisations, NPOs and government departments to join us. The response was a resounding yes!

 

The theme for the day was Seen – Heard – Celebrated! We teamed up with True Story Studio to ensure that every child was made to feel important whilst they were with us. Danielle and her team helped us design interactions, activities and spaces that were subtle but intentional in bringing people together whilst also having a whole lot of fun! The treasure map given to each child really worked to ensure they could navigate their own magical adventure.

Hunting for stickers for our Treasure Map! Photo by Belia Oh.

Kids @ The Centre. Hunting for stickers for our Treasure Map! Photo by Belia Oh.

Our collaborators pulled out all the stops with activities such as arts and crafts, messy play, box city builds, circus lessons, hula hooping, story telling, magical theatre, music and so much more being on offer for children to enjoy with each other and their families.
Ilifa Labantwana, #LOVEPLAYTALK Nal’ibali, ELRU, Centre for Early Childhood Development, Museum of Childhood, Western Cape Government – Health Department, See Saw Do, Action Arte, Circles of Life, Children’s Radio Foundation, Pretty Pride, Jungle Theatre, RedZebra Foundation, Nurture Zone, Steorra Pilates, Origami for Africa, Cape Town Tang Soo Do and Pinelands North Primary School – thank you for helping us grow the network that supports young children in Cape Town!

We realised that if we were to declare this event a celebration for all of Cape Town, we needed to remove barriers that would prevent many people from coming; mainly transport and food. The HCI Foundation kindly subsidized Golden Arrow buses and our friends at RCL Foods assisted us in providing a yummy lunch for those who were invited to travel for free. These partnerships allowed us to include families from Khayelitsha, Delft, Phillipi, Vrygrond, Langa and Nyanga. We hope to include many more families next year!

Children disembark from a bus, ready for fun! Photo by Belia Oh.

Kids @ The Centre. Children disembark from a bus, ready for fun! Photo by Belia Oh.

We had a special visit from Mayco Member for Social and Early Childhood Development, Councillor Suzette Little (introduced to the children as Aunty Suzy) and comedian, Rob van Vuuran. They embraced their inner child and had fun playing alongside other adults and children. Following this special day, we hope to continue conversations with the city around growing the supportive network that nurtures early childhood in Cape Town.

A chat with 'Aunty Suzy'. Photo by Belia Oh.

Kids @ The Centre. A chat with ‘Aunty Suzy’. Photo by Belia Oh.

Building a dream city for kids with Rob van Vuuran.

Kids @ The Centre. Building a cardboard dream city for kids with Rob van Vuuran. Photo by Belia Oh.

We were thrilled with the turn out on the day. Our first 1000 maps were collected by eager little hands within the first 40 minutes and the people kept coming! Cape Town’s weather was on top form and the atmosphere was energized and exciting.

 

What made the day beautiful wasn’t the activities or the luscious green environment, but very much the sense of community and solidarity. People showed up from every race, religion and cultural group to celebrate the wonder of childhood. For a few hours, we were able to collectively create a safe space where we could see a brighter future. Everyone was an equal participant in the experience. Mothers and fathers from different communities relaxed together on the grass and cuddled their babies. Children played happily with other children and found creative ways to communicate across their mother tongues.

Whilst the experience was, in some aspects, Utopian, it provided a refreshing opportunity for ordinary people to connect with each other and to see each other through the lens of community and shared humanity. A platform like Kids @ The Centre is rare but vital if we wish to work towards building an empathetic society filled with strong relationships that will carry our children into thriving adulthood.

To see more about Kids @ The Centre, visit our web page or Facebook event page.

 

Build a Kids dream city with SeeSawDo!

Kids @ The Centre. Build a Kids dream city with SeeSawDo! Photo by Belia Oh.

Making your mark at the Pretty Pride station. Photo by Belia Oh.

Kids @ The Centre. Making your mark at the Pretty Pride station. Photo by Belia Oh.

Kids @ The Centre. Circus tricks with Action Arte. Photo by Belia Oh.

Kids @ The Centre. Circus tricks with Action Arte. Photo by Belia Oh.

Kids @ The Centre. We EMBRACE our family! Photo by Belia Oh.

Kids @ The Centre. We EMBRACE our family! Photo by Belia Oh.

Kids @ The Centre - If you were the president, how would you make South Africa better for kids?

Kids @ The Centre – If you were the president, how would you make South Africa better for kids?

Kids @ The Centre. Gum boot dancers from RedZebra Foundation entertain families.

Kids @ The Centre. Young gum boot dancers from RedZebra Foundation entertain families.

Kids @ The Centre. Children vote on important issues affecting them. Photo by Belia Oh.

Kids @ The Centre. Children vote on important issues affecting them. Photo by Belia Oh.

Kids @ The Centre. Adults write their dreams for their children. Photo by Belia Oh.

Kids @ The Centre. Adults write their dreams for their children. Photo by Belia Oh.

Kids @ The Centre. Stories are fun! Photo by Belia Oh.

Kids @ The Centre. Stories are fun! Photo by Belia Oh.

Kids @ The Centre. Peek-a-boo, baby! Photo by Belia Oh.

Kids @ The Centre. Peek-a-boo, baby! Photo by Belia Oh.

 

A Community Play Date

A Community Play Date

27 July 2016 in General, News

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What would happen if we had a magical, interactive, pop-up play space in a community and encouraged people to come together from different parts of the city and connect through play?

Well, for one, this idea would tick all four important building blocks for optimum brain development – Stimulation, Nutrition, Safety and Love. We had the whole event pictured, in terms of the flow of activities. We would start at 10:30 and end at 1:30pm. At the start, we would have a brief welcome, to properly introduce Pop-Up Play! to everyone and to go over the ‘order’ of the day. It would be a very relaxed, casual, fun play time for the families and an opportunity for parents to connect, on some level, with one another.

Mandela Day presented itself as a great opportunity to host our first ever cross-city play date in Delft. So just before 10am, on the day, we saw a few people walking in and by 10am there were already about 50 people, including the kids, waiting for the ‘doors to open’. When the clock hit 10:30, the venue, which can comfortably accommodate 150 people, was so full and busy that it was somewhat impossible to bring everyone together for a formal welcome. The kids were already immersed in the soft play toys and the older ones were out getting their hands full with play dough, while others had all their attention on the coloring sheets in front of them.

To say the photobooth was a hit would be an understatement. It was such a winner that it had to be moved to the outside area to create more space inside the hall. What was so wonderful about it was seeing everyone excited to have their family photos captured, printed and framed as they waited. So thank you Ilifa Labantwana and #LovePlayTalk for making that possible! Also, a big thank you to Delft South Public Library for opening up the venue to us; and to Sakha Isizwe for their hard work into making the event possible, from inviting the families in Delft, to the catering and additional support on the day.

So on the one hand, we all had an incredible time. The children had a safe space in which to learn and explore new things. Everyone had a meal and the parents were doing the simple yet powerful actions of loving, playing and talking with their children!

On the other hand, however, we are still left with the challenge of figuring out how to best bring people together, from different parts of the city, in a way that will allow for meaningful engagements with one another to take place. And as such, these are some of the questions we are still interested in exploring the answers to: What would it take for people to truly begin to see and listen to one another? What will it take for people to connect and build relationships across various divides, in a city with such extreme inequality?

While we’re learning and unlearning as needed, and as we go, it’s becoming more important to remember that our children need us to show up now. That for all our children to have access to the resources they need to thrive, we need to be breaking down walls now. Once the window of opportunity, the first 1000days of life, is missed, and the foundation is laid, it becomes that much more difficult to break the cycle of lost potential.

 

Embracing Young Mom, Yamkela

Embracing Young Mom, Yamkela

15 June 2016 in Inspiration

Youth Day (1)

Briefly introduce yourself – name, age, location, age of baby etc.

My name is Yamkela Matiwane and I am 22 years of age. I was born and bred in a small township called Langa which is situated in Cape Town. I am a mother to a very beautiful baby girl named Lelonathando whom I gave birth to at the age of 19 in 2013.

What’s your favourite thing about being a mom?

Firstly, being a mom has made me see life from a whole new perspective. It has made me grow up in ways I never imagined. Gone are the days where I had to think of only myself. I now have to put my daughter first in every decision I make in life. I have to be a good example in my daughters eyes because I have someone who will one day look up to me, someone who will see me as a role model and that humbles me.

The joys I have about being a mother is actually being there to witness each and every milestone my baby girl goes through, how she grows right in front of my eyes and how every day she surprises me with new words, new sentences, counting from 1-20 and saying her alphabets at the age of 2. Now I see what people meant when they would tell me a child is a blessing and my daughter is living proof of that. With her around there’s never a dull moment! She turns my frowns into smiles and brings joy, love and happiness in the room and in my life.

What is one misconception people have about young moms?

Somehow most people think that when we become parents it’s the end of the road for us and our lives are over which is incorrect because here I am living life to the fullest, learning new things every day about my child. I scored few distinctions while I was heavily pregnant an varsity and managed to graduate while I was looking after my child and breastfeeding in the early hours of the mornings of my exams that would take place at 9am. I have friends who are working and studying at the same time while raising kids of their own. Sometimes it is because of the judgments of most people that make us mothers want to prove a point that it is really not the end for us, and it is society that actually pushes us to be the best parents to our kids.

Tell us how society could support young parents better?

Society could also help by not judging young mothers because some end up abandoning their kids and using drugs as a result.

What is your dream for your child/ children?

My dream for my child is for her to actually fight for what she wants because we live in a world where nothing comes easy, a person has to fight to get through tertiary because of the high fees and few bursaries, a person has to fight to get a job, etc. I want my daughter to be the best that she can be and succeed in life.

Finish this sentence: I want you to know that…

I want you to know that a child is never a mistake but a blessing, a child can change your life for the better, a child teaches you to be responsible at a very young age and lastly and I quote “being a mother is not about what you give up to have a child, but what you’ve gained from having one” -Unknown