FUNDA NENJA AND ETHEMBENI AIDS MINISTRY UNLEASH A NEIGHBOURLY PARTNERSHIP
Every Friday afternoon during term time, 70 children and their dogs meet with the NGO Funda Nenja/Learning with the Dog (www.fundanenja.co.za)at Zamathuli School in Mpophomeni. For many years, Ethembeni AIDS Ministry (www.ethembeni.co.za), which is within barking distance of the school, has watched the training sessions from their front yard, and has even encouraged some of their children to join in the fun, as volunteer dog trainers and interpreters.
Now thanks to funding that Funda Nenja has received from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) through the AIDS Foundation of South Africa, these neighbours will become partners, by sharing the services of Ms Nanie Duma, Auxiliary Social Worker. Ms Duma will spend some of her time working with Funda Nenja where she will conduct life skills workshops during the school holidays (covering topics such as HIV/AIDS, bullying, conflict resolution and leadership skills) and will also be teaching the children about animal welfare every Friday at the training sessions. She will also help any child who is facing challenges by offering counselling or referrals to key organisations in the community.
Ms Duma says, "Funda Nenja and Ethembeni believe in the holistic development of children. This will be enhanced by the emotional bonds formed during dog training, as the children learn to care for and become responsible for the well-being of their animal. The neighbours and partners look forward to working together in the interests of the children and their dogs who are part of the Funda Nenja team."