The 5th September is Father’s Day in many parts of the world. A day to celebrate the important male figures in your life whether they be a father, brother, uncle or friend. It is a chance to acknowledge their love and support.
Kenya celebrates Father’s Day in June, so a little earlier than here in Australia where Rafiki Mwema HQ is located. Yet we can never let a chance pass us by to show our gratitude to the men who play a vital role in the care of our children at Doyle Farm.
The vital role of an Uncle
Our children come to us broken. Their trust has been destroyed from the horrific trauma they have experienced. They are fearful and confused, many with complex behavioural issues resulting from their abuse. The road ahead is difficult and long.
Joining us on Doyle Farm in varied roles such as managers, teachers and key workers our Uncles demonstrate a new way of being to these children. They show that men can be gentle, forgiving, patient, encouraging and kind. In doing so, our Uncles model what a child should expect from other human beings and show how to respond productively when this expectation is not met.
Uncle Jack, Manager of Jasiri Rafiki School, expands upon the importance of this:
“I am able to help them heal their traumatic experience and be able to trust again. I make them believe that good people still exist and that they too can be great people in our society. They only need to believe in themselves and make appropriate decisions in life, then they will have a positive future”.
Love in action – every day, not just Father’s Day
The following is a situation which often occurs with young girls when they first come into our care. It is confronting and heart breaking. Yet it is the perfect example of how our Uncles are often at the frontline of our children’s healing journey.
Warning – the following content may be triggering for some.
Many girls come to Doyle Farm with very sexualised behaviours. They believe this is what they are there for and it is heartbreaking. We even have children who are under FIVE who have been taught to think this is their purpose. Some of these girls have been sold by their mothers since the day they were born so they think THIS IS WHAT they are here for. When the men decline their advances the girl can feel sad and angry like they have done something wrong. This brings up shame which presents as big behaviours that can cause chaos.
Due to such actions by these poor children, we work closely with our Uncles to ensure they know how to manage these complex behaviours. They need to be firm yet kind and respond in a manner which supports new, healthier behaviour for the future. It is an important role which is helping to change the children’s lives and break them free from the cycle of abuse.
Our Uncles on fatherhood
The skills which our Uncles learn at Rafiki Mwema are ones that follow them through life. They take these home and use them within their own parenting – a beautiful benefit that many say has made them better fathers. Here are some of their stories:
“What I have learnt here has made me become a better dad. I have learnt to be patient because children can take a lot of time to express themselves. I have learnt advanced safety of the children and this has made me to keenly ensure my children and the children here are safer. It has also taught me that as a father i need to have more time with my children for better connection.”
– Uncle Oliver
“Since I started working with Rafiki, I never knew that Playfulness, Acceptance, Curiosity and Empathy was a very effective way of connection and healing trauma. My daughter is one playful girl and by the reason of PACE I have come to build a strong relationship with her and now she has overcome a lot of her fears. Seeing her making friends easily and healing after an argument with her friends has made me realise how valuable therapeutic education and PACE is to us. This is not just a job to me but a lifetime of fatherhood.”
– Uncle Paul
So join us this Father’s Day to celebrate and thank the kind-hearted men of Rafiki Mwema. Each plays a unique and vital role in the lives of our children. We are grateful to each and every one. Discover more about our Uncles and their roles HERE.
If you’d like to support our work and the ongoing costs at Doyle Farm, please visit us HERE and find out how you can get involved.