The Psycho-Social Support department focuses on the general subjective well-being of the children and people of the community. This focus can take the form of counseling, mentoring, capacity building, or the use of Restorative Justice The PSS Department also advocates for, provides emotional support to, and provides clothing and food on a case by case basis to the most vulnerable households in the community. People from all over the community come to the Moya Centre to resolve inter- and intra-familial conflict; gain love and support; and benefit from the attentions of our caring and skilled counselors.
The Peer Support network was established in 2014 and aims to mainstream PSS in schools through addressing the social and emotional needs of High School students. The PSS department has trained 162 Peer Supporters in REPSSI’s “Journey of Life” since the program was started.
- Peer Supporters help school counselors at each of the schools identify students who are struggling either emotionally or academically.
- They jointly identify students that require Dignity Packs that contain deodorant, lotion, Vaseline, soap, sanitary pads, and shoe polish for those in need.
- Peer Supporters can refer more serious cases to the PSS department and the Peer Supporters meet once a month with Vuyisile for feedback and to discuss cases they have been involved with.
While the principle aim of the Peer Supporters is to extend the PSS department into the schools, they also serve as a means of imparting social and counseling skills on the Peer Supporters themselves. This network is one of the most sustainable programs at the Moya Centre. The training and experience benefits each Peer Supporter personally whilst promoting teamwork, support, and connection.
PSS at the Primary Level
School counselors and school committee members are raising awareness about the psycho-social needs of our children in parents-teachers meetings every term. Our PSS officer liaises with stakeholders at the primary level through weekly visits: Mahlanya Primary on Tuesday, Mphetseni and Bethany Primary on Wednesday. The cases being discussed include bullying, puberty, and grief. Sometimes there are requests for food support or clothing.
Mahlanya Community School’s counseling room was officially opened in 2015, and Mphetseni’s counseling room was built and opened earlier this year. The ReO of Manzini sent three officers for this momentous occasion. As a counter initiative for the logistical effort, the officials of the MoET promised an in-service training on basic counseling for the full staff, admin and school committee that will be held in early 2018.
Over the past two and a half years Moya has engaged eight High School graduates to run English medium clubs and lead library activities in two of our partner Primary Schools to raise the standard of English.
Restorative Justice (RJ) is a key tool of the PSS Department, a vital service that Moya provides, and a valuable skill that increases the capacities of community members. RJ is a style of adjudicating that requires both parties are willing to move on from a conflict. This starts from the understanding that reconciliation comes from within. RJ is not unfamiliar to Swazi culture since traditional family structures dictated that most harming and harmed parties were blood related and any justice meted out must be appropriate for the entire family’s wellbeing. With RJ’s holistic approach to conflict management the Moya Centre is able to approach problems with an open attitude. Such communal justice is then spread around the community and allows community members to learn a new skill that would otherwise prevent them from approaching some conflicts entirely. RJ is used with all conflicts in the Kids clubs, Youth and Afternoon Clubs and is taught to the Peer Support counselors at the High Schools. In 2016 the Moya Centre continued training 14 of its school counselors and 12 ReO Counselors of the 4 regions and 2 Moya staff members through the CIE (Catholic Institute for Education). In 2017 Mrs. Nkambule and Mr. Adams introduced the RJ concept to the Primary school and High school staff, school committee representatives and administrators of our 4 Primary Schools and 2 High Schools. It is a goal of the ICDP that RJ be the chief means of adjudicating disputes among community members.
61 High School Teachers
57 Primary School Teachers
12 School Administrators
12 School Committee Members
Attended RJ Workshops held by Moya Centre
And 328 Children Were Counselled in Restorative Justice January 2016—June 2017
Social Connectedness is a primary human need; to find one’s proper place in society and one’s role to play in the tangled web of humanity. At the Moya Centre we take a special focus on this need; the OVCY’s and homesteads that the Moya Centre partners with are especially susceptible to becoming detached from the community at large due to economic or familial hardships. This disconnect can lead to ill feelings such as fear or sadness, depression, social anxiety, and other negative emotional states. In coordination with REPSSI (Regional Psycho-Social Institute), the Moya Centre’s staff and 15 of its caregivers have been trained in the use and implementation of the 13 Social Connectedness Cards that depict personal experiences of varying degrees of positive and negative emotional states. These cards successfully allow people to open up about their own personal experiences to foster an open and honest dialogue about their social isolation. Social Connectedness has been used in counseling cases, Restorative Justice, referrals in Youth Clubs, and with all Sponsored Children. We get people talking to get them connected to their communities.