We had an Ubuntu Fathers day. When it comes to child care many often expect men to take a back seat and just let the woman of the household take care of such duties. However we often see the need for a strong and present father figure in the lives of our kids everyday. As such we had a theme this year which was Honoring fathers throughout the generations as well as forming a community of Fathers of children who are differently abled.
To understand why we felt we need to have this you must first understand a little bit about Kenyan Culture while we have over 40 different tribes each with their own language and traditions we often see cross over as we share common ancestry. Much like most patriarchal societies around the world there are defined gender roles and ones that are still very prevalent today. They dictate that a woman is the nurturer and caretaker and the man is the provider and protector. Meaning that should a father be seen changing a diaper or feeding a child, society can often look down on them as being very feminine men, so we find that most fathers are very reluctant to assist with the caretaking roles as long as they offer provision.
The second cultural difference you must understand is the stigma still faced today in 2023 by families of children who are differently abled. This is often seen as a curse or a sign from God that something is not okay. It can also indicate a problem either with the man or the woman, and as such fathers with less attachments to the house often will leave the house and remarry and try again with other women. This means fathers who stay are often ostracized and find it that much more difficult to make meaningful relationships with other men in the community. Our goal was to help foster the building of a community that can serve as a support group for those who really need it. It will allow fathers to find others who are experiencing the same struggle you are but are also experiencing certain victories like your son taking their first steps at 7 years old.
Our fathers were celebrated for their contributions and were given advice and the space to ask questions. All in all it was a marvelous day and we hope for this to be an event we do over and over. However, out of the 60 fathers of our kids who were invited only 18 showed up. This was not the participation we were looking for but it is a start. We hope to be able to involve more fathers as we look to break societal norms as the fathers who were present spread the word. Our goal is always 100 percent participation and that will be the goal for the next Fathers Day.
We know for those who showed up they learned valuable lessons, made new connections and were made to feel important, this is all we could ask for. If you are a father and would like to join us we will make sure to keep you informed on all the dates. Thank you!!!!!