SEP celebrated the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, 2016, by organising a fun day for the fathers and their children. The event took place at the day care centre Songa Mbele na Masomo in South B/Mukuru, Nairobi, and was attended by 23 fathers together with their children. The event targeted fathers whose children attend therapy in the SEP partner organisations. The goal of the event was to create awareness among the fathers on the importance of the support group in order to encourage more fathers to join the group, to be able to engage fathers in the interventions and to have an opportunity to connect with their children.
The fathers took part in the following activities: sharing of experiences; play sessions with children; and speech on the role of dads.
Most of the fathers gave positive feedback about the day. The opportunity to form connections with other fathers, in a group involving only men, was overwhelmingly the aspect of the program most valued by fathers.
The fathers expressed relief that other fathers were experiencing similar reactions and feelings, despite their children having very different abilities or conditions. Some fathers mentioned that they had a time to bond with their children. Others reported that they appreciate what the mothers do and have respect for them, especially those who were feeding and changing diapers for the children during the fun day.
With its attendance of more than 20 fathers and almost as many children, the day was a success both for the fathers and for SEP. The involvement of fathers in such support groups is a new idea that will need some time for the fathers to adjust to. There is still need for awareness creation among fathers of children with disabilities to have them involved in the lives of their children.
The UN International Day of Persons with Disabilities, scheduled 3rd December every year, stresses on the special needs of persons with disabilities and their social inclusion. (Read more)
The SEP father’s group is a meeting place for fathers of children living with disabilities. It aims at empowering the fathers in their relation to their child and their function as caretakers. In Kenya the caretaking of children with disabilities is still too often assumed by mothers only.