Raising a child is challenging, but even more so for a single mother
South Africa faces a challenge with regards to fatherhood and fatherlessness.
According to the non-profit organisation Single Mums Initiative (SMI), South Africa is one of the countries with the highest figures of father absence at 48%, resulting in most households being headed up by single mothers.
This generates problems such as broken families, behavior problems amongst children as well as financial and social issues.
SMI was established as an NPO in 2018, with the aim to encourage, empower and elevate the status of single mothers.
Nazeefa Sibida, founder of the Single Mums Initiative says single mothers are not valued and recognised within society.
Raising a child comes with a lot of challenges, and it's even more challenging for a single mum. We see a growing number of difficulties that single moms are faced with in society. It's financial struggle, lack of support, emotional battles, stigma, loneliness...the list goes on.Nazeefa Sibida - Founder of the Single Mums Initiative
Sibida says as an NPO, they want to empower single moms by providing long term solutions to the challenges they face on a daily basis.
What we aim to do is not only offer them the financial support, but we are looking at a long term solution. We are looking at completely helping these moms become independent, whether it's offering them loans to start up their own business, or just building up their emotional identity.Nazeefa Sibida - Founder of the Single Mums Initiative
Mehreen Cassimjee, ambassador at the Single Mums Initiative says regardless of race, religion or financial status, most single moms are experiencing the same challenges, particularly from an emotional and mental perspective,
Many moms have a similar background, but we deal with moms who come from all over, that's the first aspect. The second is, as much a single mom will sit and feel like, 'this is just me and no-one else goes through this', the scary part of this is that all these moms, no matter the background, no matter the area or location you come from, you tend to be going through the same emotional trauma and needs.Mehreen Cassimjee - Ambassador at the Single Mums Initiative
South Africa tends to stigmatise and isolate single moms and give them this little niche of, 'you belong in that area, so we need you there'. In terms of support, you hardly ever find that, and that's one of the biggest challenges for single moms, no what background you come from. It's the emotional support, communal support, societal support, and of course financial aid. Many moms are going through huge legal battles to maintain themselves and their children.Mehreen Cassimjee - Ambassador at the Single Mums Initiative
Cassimjee says one of, if not the biggest challenge faced by single moms is having to battle the courts in order to get absent fathers to pay child support.
The funny part of it is that our legislation says we look for what is in the best interest of the child first, and when it comes to maintenance, that is obviously not what we're seeing. So you're left with mom's who are having to fight for whatever cents out of the child's father for maintenance, but let alone trying to maintain receiving that maintenance even after the court has allowed for it.Mehreen Cassimjee - Ambassador at the Single Mums Initiative
Sibida says they offer virtual support meetings to allow mothers from all over South Africa to connect and bond with other single moms.
We are open to taking on moms from any region, any part of the world. We do have that platform now available to us since Covid, and we're open to the idea of expanding and helping as many moms as we can.Nazeefa Sibida - Founder of the Single Mums Initiative
Listen to the audio of the interview below
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