Children should never have to bear the consequences of their parents’ separation. When Josephine separated from her husband, she grew to dislike her children and would constantly beat them. Through JOFA´s parenting without violence training, she learnt how to care for children with emotional warmth, how to manage stress and the importance of self care which helped her transform and be more kind and caring towards her children.
Josephine is a mother to three boys and two girls. She became the sole breadwinner of her family after she separated from her husband. The mother of five works at the gold mines in Busia and makes 1.8 euros per day. She pays rent of 11 euros per month and caters for her family’s needs with the little she earns. Josephine, like any other parent, had her flaws. Unfortunately, her kids were regularly subjected to their mother’s violent behaviour.
After her separation with her husband, Josephine gradually came to despise her children. She would beat them mercilessly every day. Isaac, her 14 year old son, would bear the biggest share of his mother’s anger. One day the poor boy was beaten and burnt as a result of his mother’s rage and frustration. Whenever Isaac did something wrong, however small it was, she would punish him so badly. Josephine continued to be violent towards her children until she met Ms Anyede, a parenting without violence (PWV) facilitator, in Tiira town in Busia in March 2021. She received training on parenting without violence and completely changed her behaviour.
Parenting without violence approach aims at preventing children from experiencing physical and humiliating punishments at home and in communities. The approach helps parents and caregivers to clearly understand child development and their rights. The approach works with fathers, mothers, care givers, communities and children to transform harmful and discriminatory gender norms, power dynamics and accepted practices that drive violence in homes.
Ms Anyede met Josephine in March 2021 in Tiira and advised her to join the PWV training that was to happen from March to August 2021. Josephine dismissed the idea claiming that it was a waste of time, but she later joined the group of 20 caregivers and 20 children who were attending the training. She attended six adult PWV sessions and two adult-child interactions facilitated by Ms Anyende in Tiira Town council. Through these sessions, various topics were discussed including family dreams and positive parenting goals, caring for children with emotional warmth and structure, understanding stress and the importance of self care, understanding child development among children 6-9 years and 10-17 years, problem solving, respectful communication and positive relationships, supporting children and seeking support.
Josephine found the sessions to be interesting and helpful. The session on caring for children and self care made her reflect a lot on her relationship with her children. She admitted to have abused her children, yet they had nothing to do with her separation. After attending the sessions, which she followed to the latter, and frequent home visits from her facilitator, Josephine started changing her behaviour towards her children. She started asking them how school was and what they wanted for dinner, something she hardly did before. She was changing and becoming a better mother. She has now established a good relationship with all her children. They sit and plan issues together as a family. She has realised that her relationship with her husband should not affect how she relates with the children. “Through parenting without violence sessions, I have learnt the importance of involving my children in planning especially now that they are all that I have,” she said. “I feel good that now I can sit with my children and we can plan together. With the information I have right now, when I find someone abusing a child, like beating, I engage with the parent or report to the chairman or my facilitator,“ she added.