Families South Africa (FAMSA) Western Cape is a nonprofit organisation (NPO) committed to building sound relationships in families in their various forms and in communities. This is because disintegrating families’ or families in crises impact on the wellbeing and productivity of society as a whole. FAMSA’s core belief is that healthy and stable relationships promote healthy individuals, families and communities. FAMSA’s mission is therefore to support individuals, families, organisations, communities and society, to build, restore and sustain functional relationships.
FAMSA fulfils its mission through providing relationship enhancing services such as counselling, educational programmes, training, employee support services and through supporting communities through community development programmes. FAMSA aspires to make services accessible to all and therefore operates in many disadvantaged areas throughout the Western Cape, working with communities to address issues such as family and relationship-breakdown, domestic violence and abusive relationships, HIV and AIDS, poverty and offering trauma support services. In many areas, FAMSA counsellors work with youth, offering counselling as well as training, including male and female identity and HIV and AIDS education training.
Ultimately FAMSA believes in the value of family. Secure families provide a favourable environment where family members can develop to their full potential, develop positive identities and form a set of values that serve as a frame of reference for life. FAMSA recognises all forms of family and strives to make a positive impact in communities through the provision of counselling and support services.
FAMSA Western Cape has been in existence since 1948. It started as a so-called ‘Marriage Advice Bureau’ under the auspices of another welfare organisation. In 1958, it was established as an independent, autonomous body. It is affiliated to the FAMSA National Council in Johannesburg, being one of 27 independent FAMSA offices (NPOs) spread across South Africa that comprise the FAMSA Movement. FAMSA Western Cape now has its Head Office in Observatory, Cape Town with satellite offices in Khayelitsha, Mitchell’s Plain, Bellville, Factreton, Elsies River, Joe Slovo Park and Dunoon.
FAMSA’s purpose is to actively contribute towards the creation of healthy and effective functional families as the cornerstone of a stable prosperous society and nation.
FAMSA believes that individuals, families and communities have the potential to change, grow and take responsibility for themselves and that there are diverse types of family life, all of which have the right to be recognised.
FAMSA is committed to:
- Quality and excellence of service;
- Accessibility to all people and communities;
- Openness, tolerance and respect; and
- Non-discrimination regarding race, sexual preferences, culture or religious denomination.
FAMSA Western Cape’s services are based on a holistic approach and deals with issues on a therapeutic, educative and/or preventative level, comprising:
- Community development;
- Education; and
- Training and employee support.
Specifically FAMSA Western Cape’s services include:
Family and relationships counselling
FAMSA offers counselling to people and families / relationships at risk of disintegration, in crises or who are in transition and trying to adjust and cope with an event such as divorce or death. Common issues include:
- Communication problems;
- Domestic violence;
- Parenting; and
- Trauma, affairs, divorce and bereavement.
Furthermore, FAMSA offers the Prepare / Enrich Programme to couples contemplating marriage or for those who want to enrich or improve their relationship / marriage.
In addition to divorce counselling, FAMSA offers a mediation service, which includes the development of a Parenting Plan in accordance with the new Child Care Act.
Violence and other social upheavals are daily occurrences in society, for example, being held hostage in an armed robbery. Individuals or groups often become traumatised after experiencing such events. FAMSA Western Cape’s support is aimed at those persons who have gone through such trauma.
Psycho-educational support groups:
Men Stopping Violence Groups - In 1992 FAMSA recognised the threat that domestic violence posed to relationships, families and communities. In response to this threat FAMSA became the first organisation in the third world to begin working with male perpetrators of violence. From the domestic violence programme’s inception in 1992 until the present day FAMSA continues to run weekly men’s groups for perpetrators of violence. FAMSA also offers individual counselling for victims or partners of perpetrators of domestic violence.
Male / Female Identity Workshops - Prevention forms part of FAMSA’s holistic approach to serving the organisation’s mission. FAMSA’s Male / Female Identity Workshops for children between the ages of 12 and 14, encompasses of gender awareness, education and stopping the perpetuation of the cycle of violence.
Fatherhood Project - The Fatherhood Project is part of a larger global campaign called men care. The Western Cape initiative is a joint venture between the Sonke Gender Trust and FAMSA Western Cape. It comprises of small facilitated groups where men can engage with each other and the facilitator regarding fatherhood. The project aims to bring about gender equitable parenting, highlighting the importance of a father’s engagement with his child in terms of the child’s development and the father’s mental wellness. It also aims to prepare men mentally and emotionally for the birth of the child and increase understanding between men and women thereby reinforcing a gender equitable relationship between the couple. The rights of the child are put centre stage in terms of the right to connect with both mother and father.
Community awareness, education and development - FAMSA offers free educational talks and psycho-educational workshops that serve to educate individuals, families and communities on issues such as family and relationships, parenting skills, marriage enrichment and preparation, as well as to raise awareness and share information regarding common problems affecting many people such as divorce, affairs, domestic violence, grief, bereavement and many more.
HIV/AIDS and TB - One of FAMSA’s core goals is in reducing the spread of HIV/AIDS and TB through awareness-raising and through the provision of HCT/Adherence/PMTCT/TB counselling at ten Department of Health (DOH) facilities in the Cape Metropole.
‘Kiddies’ Holiday and After-Care Programme - Children are left unsupervised and vulnerable during school holidays because parents / carers are working. FAMSA has implemented a holiday and after-care programme for vulnerable children in Khayelitsha. FAMSA’s Khayelitsha Family Counselling Centre has a ‘play-room’ which accommodates the children. The project has been running successfully ever since, with numbers increasing considerably from around 30 to 60 during the holidays. FAMSA provides the children with a nurturing and safe environment. They all receive a nutritious cooked lunch and the older children’s homework is supervised.
Training - FAMSA is also a training organisation, and through FAMSA Training Centre (FAMtrac), FAMSA’s training arm, offers basic and specialised counselling trainings for lay and professional counsellors. Trainings offered include:
- Basic Counselling Skills;
- McMasters Family Counselling;
- Domestic Violence Counselling; and
- Trauma, Bereavement Counselling and many more.
To view the Families South Africa Western Cape in the Prodder NGO Directory, click here.