>> Article on the Celebration of the United Nations' International Day of Families, 15 May 2012
“Ensuring work-family balance”. This is the theme for International Day for Families, which is annually commemorated on May 15. This day was proclaimed by the United Nations in 1993 and has the aim to increase awareness on family issues and improve the capability of nations to tackle family-related problems with comprehensive policies.
This year it will be commemorated at an event to be held at the J Shimane Community Hall in Paballelo, Upington, on May 15 starting at 10:00. The Keynote Address will be delivered by MEC for Social Development, Mr. Alvin Botes, while the motivational speech will be delivered by Mr. Don Mattera, political activist, poet, author, journalist and motivational speaker. 200 individual family members from Pabalello, Topline, Rietfontein and Postmasburg will be targeted.
Feedback will also be given on the Family-Children Dialogues held as part of the build-up programme.
These dialogues were held in various communities, throughout the Province. The participants first discussed how they as a community can address the problem and then what government and other stakeholders can do. The following topics were discussed:
- Moral regeneration
- Effective parenting and discipline
- Rights and responsibilities of absent parents
- Strengthening of child and youth headed households
- How to enhance parent-child communication
- Effects of substance abuse on families
The Department will be developing an integrated plan with other Departments and stakeholders involved in the community, in order to draft intervention strategies in line with the identified needs of children/families. This is a joint venture between the Northern Cape Department of Social Development and FAMSA (Families South Africa), which is the NGO specializing in family preservation, under the mission to support individuals, families, organisations, communities and society to build, restore and sustain functional relationships.
Families are seen as the core of society and both the Department and FAMSA works from the assumption that all will be well in societies, if we could “cure” or rebuild families. Therefore there is an urgent need to address issues that are leading to the disintegration of family life such as unemployment, substance abuse, child abuse and neglect, domestic violence, and HIV/Aids.
These issues are known to be interlinked and to form part of the vicious cycle of poverty. Consequently, dysfunctional families often contribute to moral and social decay within the Society. Families are not only the engines of social development, but also of economic development as the family is the place to learn how to be human and to be citizens.
Families all over the world have been undergoing significant changes during the last few decades. Among these changes are shifts from the extended family to a nuclear family; increased participation of women, including mothers, in the labour force; smaller family sizes; and an increased instance of divorce and remarriage after divorce. Other, changes to families includes increases in non-marital births, female- and child-headed households and non-residential fatherhood.
The weakening of traditional extended family networks, which in the past offered care and support for younger and vulnerable family members, are leaving employed parents to manage both family- and work-life. Being active in an increasingly competitive labour market to provide economically ànd having enough time to care for the young and vulnerable members of families proof to be a main challenge for contemporary parents.
Further, work responsibilities have increased as well, with non-standard 'atypical working hours', such as work on weekends or at night, as well as bringing work home, are becoming more common as well, making it more difficult to balance work and care responsibilities. Long working hours are also linked with higher absenteeism due to illness and lower productivity, as well as reducing the time parents spend with their children, which have a negative impact on family interactions.
It is therefore necessary to reach balance between your work and family responsibilities.
The media is hereby invited to attend the commemoration of International Family Day.
Manager : Communications
Department of Social Development