Family Strength Expo Launch
Honoured guests, Ladies and Gentlemen
I wish to extend warm welcome to all of you this morning at the launch of the Department of Social Development's 2010 Family Strength Expo's. I'd like to extend a special word of welcome:
- To members of the Media
- Colleagues and Representatives from the Provincial Legislature
- The City of Cape Town
- I also like to welcome the Head of the Department, Ms. Koleka Lubelwana, Members of the Senior Management Team and Staff in the Department
- We are also joined by our District Managers from Vredendal, Worcester and Cape Town
- Our partners in the NGO sector
- Members of the Sontyantya & Mathibela family from Du Noon who is s joining us this morning. As family, they have participated in the Family Expo last year in Belhar and will once again, together with many other families, join us in celebrating families.
Ladies and Gentlemen
It gives me great pleasure to officially launch the 2010 Family Strength Expo on behalf of the Department of Social Development.
On the 15th of May each year, we celebrate, with the international community, the International Day for Families. This year we will also celebrate the 16th Anniversary of the International Year for Families.
We know that families are important to the people of the Western Cape - as more than 96% of people in the province live in family groups. Families constitute the most basic unit in society and we also know that a child's first and most important relationship is formed within the family environment. The well-being of the family is of such critical importance to the overall functioning of society as any breakdown in its functioning and its ability to provide care increases the vulnerability of its members.
The Department of Social Development recognises the significant role that parents, caregivers and families play in providing children with nurturing, attachment, appropriate socialisation, and a positive self image.
Research on the status of families in the Western Cape conducted by the HSRC, revealed that many families in the province lack the resources to care adequately for their family members and that poor families are more likely to be subjected to social pathology risks e.g. abuse of alcohol and drugs, maltreatment or abuse in the family or being a victim or perpetrator of crime.
In recent years we have also seen major changes affecting families including:
- families having fewer children
- the fact that most children today spend their first five years in the care of others
- the increased likelihood for divorce
- a rise in the single parent families
- as well as the rapidly eroding extended family support network available for families today.
The Department is therefore committed to promoting family strengthening and will continue to provide a safety net to the most vulnerable in our society - so as to give expression to our overall vision of a self-reliant society. We will continue to affirm the family as the basic unit in society that must be afforded opportunities for development, growth and protection. The family must be the main agent in protecting the human rights of its members - especially the vulnerable. It must answer the needs and promote the potential of its individuals as physical, social, emotional, intellectual and spiritual beings. We know that supporting families requires an interlocking system in which families and accompanying - formal and informal - networks and services work together.
In May 2009, the Department hosted a Provincial Family Strength Expo in Belhar - in celebration of the International Day for Families. This event was a great success in terms of raising awareness of family services and strengthening families. Soon after, I instructed the Department to develop a roll-out plan to ensure that more communities have access to these expo's - particularly in the rural areas of the province.
I am glad to announce that this year we will host 4 Family Strength Expo's in four district office areas of the Western Cape.
From 14 - 16 May we will host Family Expo's at:
- The Western Cape Sport School in Kuilsriver
- Kleinplasie in Worcester
From the 21 - 23 May we will host Family Expos at:
- The Toekomsrus Community Hall in Oudtshoorn
- The Vredendal Sports Ground in Vredendal
The Theme for the Family Expo's is:
"Promoting, Protecting and Strengthening Families - Families and Communities Working Together and Building on Strengths"
The Family Expo's main objectives are:
- To build social cohesion through Family Strengthening
- Create mass awareness of services and opportunities available to Families
- build cooperative partnerships between all spheres of Government and Civil Society
The expo is a developmental and an all-embracing programme aimed at reinforcing awareness, promoting positive parenting, moral regeneration, positive behaviour and a healthy and balanced family life. These expo's will also seek to deepen dialogues and understanding through:
- one-on-one and group consultations
- seminars on a variety of issues and topics e.g. positive parenting
- substance abuse
- disability programmes
- many other topics
At the Family Expo non-governmental organisations and various government departments will showcase services that they render to families. This is a three day event that will be officially opened on the Friday afternoon, whilst on the Saturday, families are invited to interact with organisations that will be exhibiting their services, and attend seminars - which will focus on specific issues pertaining to families. The entertainment will also ensure that families can enjoy their time at the event.
A special kiddies corner will keep children entertained and families are invited to participate in interactive family games. The Expo's will be officially closed on the Sunday, with an interfaith service. I have also learnt, that in the spirit of the 2010 FIFA Soccer World Cup, that the SANTOS Football Club, will be hosting a special coaching clinic for youngster Saturday morning at the Kuilsriver Expo.
The Department of Social Development invites families and communities to participate in the expo's and we look forward to spending time with the families in our communities - gaining a better insight into the issues at hand, and crafting common interventions to ensure that families prevail wherever they find themselves.
The Department of Social Development has committed itself to ensuring that the family expo becomes an annual event that will spread across the Western Cape.
I thank you