Meet Minky, a 3-year-old girl who, not long ago, faced severe malnutrition, hunger, impaired physical abilities, a lack of access to medical care due to a chronic condition and her health was deteriorating substantially.
A Family in Crisis: Minky’s family was in crisis. Her mother, battling substance abuse, prioritised alcohol over the welfare of her children. Minky’s two older brothers, Meeldrot (7 years) and Sipho (12 years), found themselves responsible for their younger sister’s well-being. Despite facing hunger and neglect, these resilient brothers took on the role of caregivers, growing up far too quickly for their age. They were the head of their home until the AFS-Khusela members stepped in when notified by neighbours about how desperate the children are in need of care and support. Fortunately, with social service support, community linkages and a strong AFS-Khusela network identifying this case, the following change was seen in the household and the children were prevented from being removed from the mother and from entering an institution in just three months.
Parent/Caregiver Transformation: The parent/caregiver risk factors decreased by 67% from the initial assessment to the re-assessment. The mother, initially lacking self-esteem and trapped in a cycle of substance abuse, experienced a significant transformation. With social service support and newfound confidence, she began actively seeking employment and taking on ad hoc jobs to support her family. Today, she invests in her own recovery, breaking free from the grip of addiction.
Reduced Family Risk Factors: The risk factors threatening the well-being of the children decreased by 75%. They were no longer at risk of neglect, and the family learned to navigate stress more effectively as the mother focused on her personal growth and well-being.
Improved Environmental Support: The environmental risk factors decreased by 50% as the family is now able to tap into existing communities and government structures for support. As the mother sought employment opportunities, her network within the community expanded, strengthening the family’s support system.
Measuring Change: The most significant changes observed in the past three months were the newfound bond between the children and their mother. With love and care, the family embraced warmth and stability, and the children found happiness in their transformed lives. The mother’s words reflect this change: ” I was overwhelmed with not having enough for my children, so I decided to give up on myself and them, I have now learnt that with help from others.” she says.
One critical change involved linking the mother to a local internet café, providing her with the means to search for employment and assist her children with school assignments. Previously, limited internet access hindered her involvement in her children’s education, but now, she is equipped with basic computer literacy and can ensure her children’s online safety.
Looking Ahead: As risk factors decrease, protective factors increase. The impact of parental support on a child’s development and overall family health is undeniable. The future holds promise as the mother explores various employment opportunities and networks, paving the way for better economic stability.
Minky’s story is a testament to the power of intervention, resilience, and family support. With the dedication of OCOF-HHCSA’s AFS-Khusela network, families like Minky’s can break free from the cycle of neglect and hardship towards transformation, and a brighter future.