You know we want to take Young Mom Support forward as a full time venture. Mostly, this seems more like a pipe-dream than a real possibility. But let’s dream for a second.
Late this year, we started weekly YMS workshop sessions at the Youth Centre for our school-age moms. These Wednesday after-school sessions are more formal than our Saturday morning get-togethers. Each hour long session has a specific topic – I provide the materials and Phakama leads the discussion. The smaller, more intimate setting allows the moms to share more personal stories which they may not feel comfortable doing in a bigger group.
If I had to imagine what Young Mom Support would look like in the future:
We’d have our own drop in venue: a small house close to Masiphumelele. Location is tricky: too far away from our targeted community and the moms can’t get there. Too close to the middle – and they lose their privacy as everybody sees them going in and that causes trouble. Also, we have to consider OTHER communities: do we focus on Masi / Ocean View? So many other places need us too – and we ARE far away in the middle of nowhere.
Our lil house would be open all day: pregnant and parenting teens could drop in to have a chat, meet other moms, look for help, attend workshops and other interesting classes. We’d train and then employ some of our current young moms as peer counsellors – they’d be involved in all aspects of running the centre.
We’d run weekly formal workshop sessions at our venue, but ALSO run satellite groups in other areas, partnering with local schools. Imagine a YMS group in every high school. Pregnant and parenting learners could have access to advice, parenting support and a dedicated group of peers who understand what they’re going through. Having this support would be essential to keeping her in school, and improving her chances of passing Matric successfully. Would also take some of the load off teachers who don’t have the time to address the specific needs of parenting students. These groups would initially be run by us – but it would eventually be handed over to group members with leadership potential to run their own school’s group.
We’d make sure we had good relationships with the local clinics, hospitals, TOP providers, schools and other service providers, so we could work together to find solutions to any situation a young mom might face.
I also dream about providing easily-accessible childcare for moms at school, emergency accommodation for those who can’t stay at home, and opportunities for our best and brightest to study further.
Is it too much? Can it be done? It can. Eventually – it will be. We’ll get there.
Oh, and here are the pics from our last Masi meeting. Forgot to post them earlier!