APRIL 28 – 29, 2017

The beautiful Shamwu Lodge, was the venue of the first PEP course in Bloemfontein. 16 mothers and fathers journeyed to the venue to share stories of their lives as parents of children with bleeding disorders, to listen to others tell their stories, and to participate in the course content. Participants were primarily from Bloemfontein, Kimberley and out-lying areas. Many of the participants met each other for the first time and listened intently to other parents who shared similar challenging experiences to their own. Friendships were made and discussions continued into tea and lunch breaks.

Parents Empowering Parents report 28-29 April 2017 South African Haemophilia FoundationThe course was facilitated by Tony Roberts and Sr Selo Tuswa. They were ably hosted by Mahlomola Sefojane and supported by Sr Suzie Petersen. Some of the issues discussed were: the medical understanding of bleeding disorders; child development; parenting styles; communication skills and building self-esteem in children. One of the highlights of the course was listening to parents sharing their challenges as they struggled to come to grips and accept the diagnosis of their child as a person with a bleeding disorder (PwBD). Another highlight was the closing session where parents acknowledged the strengths and encouragement that they had witnessed in other parents.

Special thanks must go to the two people who made this course possible: Mahlomola Sefojane, whose vision and hard work brought us together; and Judy Butler, Operations Manager of the South African Haemophilia Foundation (SAHF). They made sure that facilitators and participants could travel to and from the venue and were suitably accommodated.

(This short reflection was written by Tony Roberts: PwBD, SAHF volunteer, Member of WFH Psychosocial Committee.)