Supporting Parents through the Pandemic: VUNA
For many years one of the main objectives at Ububele has been helping build healthy relationships between parents and their children. Many parents want what’s best for their children but parenting can be hard work and things can be overwhelming without the support and encouragement that is needed. This is why many of our goals have been orientated around connecting with parents and caregivers and helping them to love and support their children.
We at Ububele understand the power in building a healthy bond between the caregiver and the child and how this helps them to learn and thrive as they grow up.
The work we do primarily focuses on mothers in the Alexandra area of Johannesburg and it is important for us that we connect with as many parents as we can within the community. However, the covid-19 pandemic became an obstacle in our endeavours, it posed a threat to the very connection we sought out as an organisation and motivated us to find new ways of connecting to parents in a changing world.
In collaboration with a new Ububele partner, Innovation Edge, Ububele was able to develop a remote way to continue to provide our important services in the face of COVID-related restrictions. Our solution: The Vuna parenting Club. The Vuna Club is a Whatsapp based service that aims to keep Alexandra parents of infants feeling supported and encouraged in raising their children during the first 1000 days of their baby’s life. The first 1000 days of a child’s life is an important notion for us at Ububele. It is during this period that the seeds of future success are planted in a child. Just like with any crop, the sowing of seeds must come before the harvest and this very idea is the foundation of what formed The Vuna Club. The word VUNA means “harvest” and is very encompassing of the value behind nurturing bonds and sowing seeds for our children to grow with.
The Vuna platform is directed toward pregnant mothers, mothers, fathers and caregivers with babies and children under the age of 2. It is designed to assist parents and caregivers in keeping themselves informed on how to help their babies and young children reach their full potential.
The Vuna Club is free to join for Alexandra residents, and by doing so parents have access to:
· Weekly psycho-educational and supportive WhatsApp messages
· Home visiting services
· Parenting programmes
· Newborn Behavioural Observations
· Parenting “consultation” services offered at Region E clinics
· Counselling support if baby is admitted at Edenvale Hospital
· Counselling or Therapy services if needed
By joining Vuna, parents also gain the opportunity to be part of a greater community of parents just like themselves. Learning to facilitate a healthy relationship with their children can also be enriching for the caregivers themselves as it can help make the experience of parenting much more pleasurable and fulfilling.
Although Vuna started as a way to continue providing services during the COVID pandemic, the experience has shown us the value in finding ways to connect with families remotely beyond a pandemic.
Ububele hopes to continue our journey in supporting parents and caregivers in Alexandra, not only as we did before, but also through our new VUNA platform. But we cannot do it without support. Ububele’s ethos and entire meaning is centred around kindness and it is through the kindness and gratitude of others that we are able to fund the work that we do. Please consider donating to assist us in furthering our passion of connecting and supporting parents throughout the community.
Donations can be made at https://www.ububele.org/support-us
This blog was written by Josh Labuschagne, a committed Ububele volunteer.