Supporting Single Mums and Children

Spitak, Armenia

 

In early October, we started teaching the parenting course with an English gentleman who took our Transformational Community Development (TCD) training last month. We use a special 5-week course and want it to not just be a study course but also for the community. We prepared coffee and tea with some snacks. This time, was meant for them to relax and learn more about rearing children. Our focus was to help them not to judge each other but instead to unite and find ways of becoming a better and more loving parent.
 

Invitation cards were sent to dozens of parents from the local community. Many of them responded positively and started registering. At the first lesson, 10-15 mothers appeared. As we knew in Armenian culture, most women are involved in children’s education and social life, so this was normal. However, later on, we discovered that all these women were rearing their children alone. They were either divorced or their husbands were working in Russia. We started a parenting course, but it soon became more of a single mums’ course.

 

The lesson topics cover most of their current issues and the mothers are very active in discussions and doing the assignments. We came across cultural and social barriers, for example, when some of them were convinced that beating a child is the only right way. Most of them confessed that they beat and shout at their children on a daily basis and that is how their parents used to rear them.
 

Therefore, we talked a lot about other perspectives of rearing children, such as in a loving and understanding way. The mothers were interested, and some of them even promised to try to change their attitude towards their children even if they were angry.
 

We still have two lessons left and another week of application time when we are planning to give them the assignment to spend one-on-one time with their children. These mums are processing a lot and it is a challenge for them. At the end of the course, we are also planning to form a committee for parents. 

 

Much of their story is very heartbreaking. The children and teenagers in this area of Spitak we are working in a struggle with many hard issues. Some of their mothers are absent, leaving the children alone for weeks to grow up any way they can with no adult supervision.
 

We are very sad to say that sometimes the youth end up doing things children are not meant to do. Therefore, we are thinking to set up a special time in the week for spending one-on-one time with them to understand their needs and the deep cries of their hearts. Sometimes, even when they smile, you still see the pain behind that beautiful smile. 

 

There is an old playground in this area. It was built more than 15 years ago. Now it is in a very bad condition and dangerous for children to play. We are hoping that in spring we can do a seed project with the local children and their parents and paint and renovate this playground. At that time, they will have ownership and will not destroy it.

 

Thank you!

 

Jamal
GHNI Partner 

 

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