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67 ways to help this Mandela Day: Using dogs to turn children into responsible adults

Picture: Supplied

Picture: Supplied

Published Jul 18, 2020


Every week more than 110 children, with their dogs, go through training and obedience techniques at Funda Nenja's premises in Hilton, KwaZulu-Natal. The objective is to develop children into responsible, caring and disciplined young people.

Funda Nenja was founded by members with experience in dog training, this expertise was used to build a programme that develops the community as well as educating and providing animal welfare services.

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A qualified social worker attends to the psycho-social needs of the children and their families. Together with the organisation's education officer, the social worker visits each of the Funda Nenja families to assess the welfare needs of both the people and their animals. 

When necessary the social worker offers counselling to the community and assists in applying for various social grants, together with cognitive and medical referrals. Life-skill workshops are regularly given throughout the year to children, both those in the dog school program and some who are not.

Funda Nenja is unique in its approach to animal welfare and the bond between the dog and the child; the value that a dog has to a child and family using these principles to encourage children to think and act differently and more responsibly.

"By changing children’s attitudes and emotional response towards the dogs, we are investing in the future and not just applying a “band-aid” approach to animal welfare. These children will become agents of change and role models of responsible, caring dog owners in their communities, in addition to their benefitting in a number of psycho-social ways through the various programs we offer," the organisation says.

And the humans aren't the only ones who benefit.

"All dogs that join the dog school program are offered free veterinary care at our weekly primary veterinary care clinic which provides de-worming, tick & flea control, rabies vaccinations and treatment for skin conditions, ear/eye infections etc. More serious conditions are referred to a local veterinarian for professional attention. We insist that all dogs joining the dog school are sterilised which is done through our sterilisation program at no cost to the owners," says Funda Nenja.

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Funja Nenja aims 

1. To develop children into young leaders by providing disciple at an early age and assisting in improving their school results, 

2. To develop and encourage skills development for youth in the community by transferring skills and providing some of them with an income (in the form of a stipend),

3. To assist mothers and caregivers by helping develop young adults who are motivated, well-mannered and caring individuals,

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4. To provide professional psycho-social support to children,

5. To enhance the environment and thereby afford the community the opportunity of being recognised as a tourism destination. This is done by providing environmental and recycling education to children of all ages.

6. To provide a safe environment for children to engage in a social activity thereby keeping them of the streets,

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7. To open the door for children to inter act and bond with their pets and provide a source of companionship,

8. To provide veterinary care for dogs

If you're interested in learning more about the NPO, contact them on [email protected] or visit the  website.

Bank Details

First National Bank

Branch Code 220 725

Account number  624 587 66197

Swift number FIRNZAJJ

* Find more organisations and worthy causes to support on Mandela Day: 

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