Teen Parenting project
The principal of one of the schools, Mr Denzyl Witbooi from Hector Petersen High School indicated at a community forum meeting that there is a great need for parenting skills training for the parents of the learners at the school. When Usapho Foundation approached the school, it was evident that there were so many young learners (94 of 1300 learners) at the school who were either pregnant or were parents already and had difficulty in coping with the responsibility of parenting and the demands of their academic work. During the assessment phase (use of detailed questionnaires), it was evident that these learners are struggling to make healthy decisions in terms of relationships and regret it most of the time. The other matter was their struggle to care for their young ones materially as well as emotionally. They themselves lack the basic life skills like asserting themselves because of a negative self-esteem. The issue of maltreatment of their young children is thus in question. This program can be duplicated in other schools or communities with the same challenges. The services also need to be extended to the parents/ grandparents of these teenage parents (fathers and mothers).
It was evident during our intervention at the school that only the girls attend the groups, but there were enquiries from the boys/ young men also to be included in the parenting program. Whilst they are parents and will get the same basic parenting training, there need to be some different mentoring and guidance for these young men as well.
Psycho Social Support
The questionnaire that the learners completed indicated that a lot of them are exposed to violence, death and need guidance and counselling to cope with loss and grief. Some of them are in child headed families and struggle with the demands on them. During individual interviews it was also evident the need for life skills, like anger management, managing money,etc
The Annual Performance Plan 2013 by the Department of Social Development in the Western Cape and nationally, indicated that there are gaps in these above mentioned service areas and the Department needs other stakeholders to assist in these focus areas.
The other children and family organizations which are mainly responsible for statutory work and addressing other social challenges, are supporting Usapho Foundation in rendering these specialized preventative and developmental services.