In our most recent blog, our Field Officers, Barbara and Natalia, tell us about their visit to one of HRBC’s centres where they had the chance to meet the children and catch up with two of the mothers that featured in COTA’s latest video and listen to how HRBC has contributed positively to their lives and that of their children.
We were greeted by a group of happy children, busily colouring a card for their mother/father. Considering the number of children, it was really very quiet as they were all concentrating so hard on the task in hand. Meanwhile, a group of mothers was talking with HRBC’s psychologist, discussing the challenges and joys of raising children; how to manage their stress and frustration at times and not take it out on their children. As one mother explained, “when we feel like tearing our hair out because our children have been naughty, we’ve learnt to breathe deeply and count to ten before we say anything to them”. The mothers also expressed how keen they were to find a means of generating income “it’s difficult for us to go out to work because we have to look after our children, but we could learn how to do something, like making sandals, and sell them”.
It was amazing to see how both children and mothers were in the same place but each group was working on their own thing, without depending on each other and taking advantage of the time to learn about different things. Libia, HRBC’s Director said that at first the mothers and the children always wanted to be together. The children would cry and immediately go to look for their mum and the mums didn’t let go of them. But with time they have realized that here they can do different things, the children know they can ask for help from others and the mothers can trust that their children are in being taken care of.
Our visit was made even more special because we were able to talk to Victoria and Zurlangie, the two mothers that participated COTA’s video last year, and see for ourselves how important HRBC’s support is for them and their children. They
commented on the contributions the project made to their lives. Zurlangie spoke about her daughter’s dream, going to school like other children in the neighbourhood. But Zulangie’s daughter faced many obstacles when finding a school, they had tried to get her into several but they didn’t give her a place, or she would have to leave after only a few days. Thanks to HRBC, her daughter felt like going to school, as she interacted with children her age, and not adults and that finally she would to be able to go a school where teachers are trained to give children with disabilities the attention they require.
Victoria said that HRBC’s support was very important to her, as she met with other mothers who shared her situation: Mothers with several dependent children and faced with the difficult balance between working to provide for her children and finding time to educate and care for her children herself. Meeting other mothers in her position has helped her to see there are other mothers in her position, she is not alone.
Everyone in the room was treated based on their differences (age, ability, interest) and everyone there (mothers and children) had the opportunity to express themselves (through their opinions or through drawings, for example). This is very powerful and captivating.