Overcoming Social Divides

Overcoming Social Divides

The first 1000 days of a child’s life are pivotal: if a baby doesn’t get the necessary building blocks of love, nutrition, security and stimulation, they are unable to flourish and reach their potential.

Common Good is piloting the ‘Champions for Children’ programme which equips parents and caregivers to provide these building blocks, setting their children up for a brighter future.

Desirée Maartens tells of her experience as a connector in the recent ‘Champions for Children’ programme, whereby she journeyed with parents and guardians, providing them with support, encouragement and friendship.

 

I’ve always loved working with pregnant woman and young children, and thus ECD seemed like the perfect space for me to put my passions into practice. It wasn’t long before I came to the conclusion that ‘Champions for Children’ was something I definitely wished to be involved in. I then prayed about it and waited on God to allow the opportunity to present itself.

Soon, an opportunity arose when volunteers or “connectors”, were needed for the pilot at Heideveld. Excitement grew within me at the prospect of journeying with brand new mothers, from a completely different background to my own. I struggled to figure out just how I would relate to these moms; I didn’t want to come across as an external helping hand, but rather as someone who truly wanted to love and get to know the families.

I was both eager and apprehensive at the thought of creating sincere relationships with the new mothers. Initially the conversations were uncomfortable, but I think this was because each person had their own expectations of how the relationships would be. While the first meeting was hard and frustrating, things started to take a positive turn as the programme progressed and we got to spend more time together.

The parents and guardians soon began interacting with us on a personal level, allowing us the chance to understand the hardships they face on a daily basis. I began to deeply appreciate how difficult it is for these ladies to be mothers in such harsh circumstances. They want to be heard and empathised with, like all moms do, and this made me realise just how many values we essentially share.

‘Champions for Children’ impacted the carers in their ability to be better parents. We often discussed the knowledge and information they received from the training they all attended, which helped them to feel more informed and better equipped to make decisions on important issues regarding their children.

Witnessing God’s hand at work throughout the whole programme was incredibly encouraging to me, as the perspectives of the mothers broadened with each session. At the last meeting, one of the carers asked us what she could pray for and she then chose to pray for us. That was special for me, because it highlighted just how mistaken I was by thinking we would be so different from one another.

I am grateful to have been a part of this programme and have realised the blessings in my own life that I can be grateful for. What a privilege it has been to learn and encourage one another, by finding common ground that overcomes the differences in our lifestyles.

 

This post was written by
Desirée is a biokineticist by profession. She is a wife as well as a mother of two beautiful children. But at the heart of who Desirée is, is a woman full of dreams and desires to fulfill God's plan for her life.

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