These are some of the testimonies from the experiences of parents and children who participated in the PLH Kids and Teens programmes in Kinshasa (locally called ESENGO). They were delivered alongside an economic strengthening programme by Catholic Relief Services. This was also made in collaboration with 4Children and funded by USAID PEPFAR. All names, in the testimonies, have been changed to insure the protection of their confidentiality.

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I am Sarah, married to Francis, and mother of seven biological children, but with others under my care, there are 17 in the household among which are nieces, nephew, etc. who lost their parents. I am a member of the self-supporting group, and member of CECI (internal savings and credit communities) and “ESENGO” Positive Parenting Group (PLH). I enjoyed the two approaches, as well as the entire family (spouse and children) as they and I learned how to have a dialogue and solve family problems without shouting or hitting, finding solutions to the difficulties together, giving priority to the needs with which we desire, to limit the expenses without justification in order to save the CECI group to prepare for the 2016-2017 school year for all the children. I plan to request a credit in August 2016 to prepare for the start of the school year. I conclude that accompanying the good parental good practice development group helped me to work with my daughter who has the same health problem, she reminds me of taking medication discreetly, I also remind her of hers and there is harmony. Finally, I find the two approaches very useful. I urge members of the other self-help groups to subscribe to the approaches of  4Children.

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I am Julie. I was very impolite and full of sadness when my parents blamed me, whipped me, or even insulted me for nothing in particular, even a tiny mistake like forgetting to sweep would make me very rebellious towards them, no-one respected anybody. After attending the sessions, I changed, I’ve learned to congratulate my parents, manage my emotions, or even remind parents to save. I am now appreciated by my parents and friends from the neighbourhood. This session taught me good behaviours in regards towards parents for a harmonious family life.

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My name is Mamie-Rose. I am mother of a household of 7 people. Eight years ago my sister passed away and left me with 5 orphaned children (2 girls and 3 boys), one of her children regularly goes to the hospital centre, he is 9 years old. Before the ESENGO approach, I did not know how to care for him. Not only I, the whole family did not know how to care for him and his condition. After receiving the approach, I changed the behaviour towards this child and all the others. The family as well, harmony has settled in our household. The big problem that concerns (me) is the children’s schooling, each time they go back to school but never finish the year after the financial problem. I admit without exaggeration, that I had never received such a teaching, not even at the Church, that could bring a big change in my life and especially in my household. I wish that this approach stays and remains, that it runs in every household.

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I’m Bienvenu, I am a widow and father of five children. I am a member of an ESENGO group and attend the sessions of development of best parental practice. I’ve learnt to congratulate the children when they do well, I also learnt how to develop a low budget to clear every time the expenses and the income to eventually save for the difference of my future and the future of my family.

As well, I have learned how to build a positive relationship while spending time with the children. I talk regularly every night with the kids and it works very well since I became a member. I’ve changed a lot, I recognize it, my family too. I would like to thank CRS and field staff who are accompanying us to develop good parental practices in our families.

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My name is Madame Merveille. I am a member of the positive parental group “ESENGO” and I am a CECI member. I have learned a lot through both groups. I know to manage my feelings, to have a dialogue, to solve small conflicts with children without necessarily using very harsh solutions, without screaming at kids. I talk to friends and neighbours, and they want to join the groups but it is already late, certainly they will very soon join new groups. Grace to my membership of the CECI group, I saved and have credit, I developed my small business (selling coal), I respond to the small financial needs of my household without waiting for the moment that the husband arrives at night.

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I am Divine, wife to Paul. I am a member of the self-supporting group and member of the ESENGO group. I am a mother of two children and I am a guardian of three orphans under 18. I learned how to live in harmony with the children, how to educate them without violence since I am attending the parental practice development sessions. I’m no longer angry, like how I often was, I no longer have stomach pains like in the past. Prior to these lessons, I was able to spend a week without talking to the children, today, it’s a collaboration and the children and neighbours are a testament to that. I also learned ideas around saving and when I have the opportunity I can be a member of a group of savings and credit and my children will be able to study from this initiative. This approach is helping us parents to educate our children and especially to place harmony between our children and us. I think if this approach already existed, there would not be children who would run away to the streets. I encourage field workers to reach other households with problems to help them install this approach ahead of time. This is a very good approach for our families (we parents and our children).

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My name is Aude. I am married but my husband is not here for two years due to travels. I am a mother of seven children, three of whom are under 18 (one daughter and two boys). I am a member of the Positive Parenting / ESENGO Group since April 2016. I have learned a lot from the ESENGO approach, which helps me to educate my children very much. I’ll give you an example of an argument between my two boys and how I had to intervene. My two boys quarrelled over a ball and even began to knock each other about, usually for such a situation, I would use force, the whips, but having done the training course of the ESENGO approach the last time, this time, I did not use force, I approached them to know a little more. Having listened to them, one after the other, I understood that Clément who is the bigger one, wanted to keep the ball for himself and to play alone, this is what brought the younger brother to defend himself not wanting his brother to keep the ball to himself.

Using the ESENGO approach, I just asked my two boys, if they know how many players are present in a football game, they say there are 22 players, in return I asked the second question, what about the twenty-two people, how many balls do they have, they say they have one, are these 22 people fighting, they say no, so then for a single ball, Twenty-two people do not fight, so then why do two fight. I urge you to play as two teams, Clement you represent a team and your little brother is a second team and you play with the same ball. After the two young people understood they said that this time I did not use force to make them understand, they said thank you and have continued playing and have promised to make two teams each time.

I am also a member of the CECI Group for two months, since I have been investing in the savings and credit group, the importance of savings, as soon as our group arrives in the granting process, I will take a credit to develop a generous income-generating activity so that the children can have the opportunity to study as far as possible because they have recently given up.

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I am Grace. My experience is that before the session, I was harsh and hot tempered towards the children especially if we had a lot of conflict with my husband. In this case it was the children who were suffering the consequences but now I know how to manage my emotions and feelings not to transpose it onto the kids. The sessions taught us how to say thanks and congratulate because I did not know how to thank or to congratulate. Thanks to the session I’ve learned how to do it. Before the session I could not save, I spent all the money my husband gave me, thanks to the session I understood that although I have 20,000FC, I can use 17.000 and save 3.000FC, so I learned to distinguish between need and desire.

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My name is Valentina. I am a living with a disability, widowed and mother of 5 children under 18 (two girls and three boys), I am part of the Positive Parenting / ESENGO Group. It was difficult for me to manage the children before the arrival of the ESENGO project, I suffered emotionally due to my physical disability and being widowed but thanks to this approach, I improved my way of being a mother, and my children who were not ready to help me yesterday, today they are willing to do so. So, there is harmony that settles in between my kids and me, I thank the field staff who support me and support my community.

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My name is Nel, I am a widow and mother of 4 boys under 18, I am a member of the Positive Parenting Group child component. The project has brought harmony to my family because as a widow, it is difficult to manage boys alone and especially those boys who have difficult behaviours but today thanks to the ESENGO project I’m trying to be on good terms with them, it progresses very well.

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My name is Madame Ingrid. I am a Positive Parenting Group. After listening carefully to session 2 I liked the lesson and tried it on my 16-year-old niece, Francia, who actually lives with me now. Francia lived together with her parents, seeing her behaviour in her family and even in her neighbourhood, her parents had difficulty managing her, it was not a week without learning that their daughter had fought with her friends in the neighbourhood and at school. And every time her parents blamed her for this way of being, she became enraged with them and sometimes, she even left the family home  to come back one or two days later. Faced with this situation and not being able to handle it anymore, her parents decided to bring her back to my home, her aunt, so that I be in charge of her.

After receiving her at my home, I studied at first silently her behaviour and I tried to organise with her some moments of talking by bringing her in my fields and while she worked with me in my gardens, I took advantage to ask her certain questions about the way of behaving which appeared in the eyes of everybody difficult to understand. At first it was not easy but the more I went out with her, the more familiar we became with each other through the exchanges of ideas. Francia, herself, decide to trust in me. She said that her behaviour was the result of what she constantly witnessed at her parents’ home. According to her, every day, her father and her mother bickered and sometimes they fought in her presence without being ashamed and that it had deeply affected her, and that is why she was forced to console herself in doing the same with her brothers and friends. As solution I tried to separate the girl from her parents to put her by my side and since then, she became my friend and we always spend time together to share her problems, I can say that the little Francia prefers to live at my home and from time to time goes to give advice to her parents and to speak to them about the ESENGO project which brought joy and the peace in her family and her heart.

 

*  All names have been changed to insure the protection of their confidentiality.