There was a time when Ally Bakary Kangana didn’t think it was important to spend time with his son.
“I also believed all decisions must be made by parents, especially fathers,” recalls the 52-year-old.
It was simply how he was raised, Ally explains. His own upbringing was very patriarchal.
His views began to change after he and his son, 10-year-old Abdallazak, began taking part in the Furaha Caring Families Program, an initiative of Pact’s Kizazi Kipya project. Funded by PEPFAR and USAID, Kizazi Kipya, or “New Generation,” works across Tanzania to transform the lives of vulnerable children and young people, particularly those affected by HIV. This includes improving financial resources for parents and caregivers of orphans and vulnerable children, as well as improved access to health and HIV services for children and adolescents.
Furaha, which means “happiness” in Swahili, is an important piece of Kizazi Kipya. The program strengthens the ability of parents and caregivers to provide a protective environment and ensure the health and wellbeing of children through positive parenting techniques and relationship-building. Furaha works with groups of children between the ages of 10 and 17, as well as their caregivers. It focuses on behaviour change to reduce older children’s risks for HIV and violence.
Ally and Abdallazak attend a Furaha group that meets in their neighborhood in Dar es Salaam. Through the sessions, they’ve learned tactics to strengthen their relationship and improve their interpersonal communication. They and other group members have also gained access to HIV testing.
Abdallazak recalls a time when all decisions were made by his father; in their household, children could not contribute to family matters. This caused him to isolate himself from his parents.
“My father was very harsh most of the time and always busy with his things,” Abdallazak says. “He had no time for our family.”
But through Furaha, Ally has transformed his attitude and outlook on life, which has united his family.
Everything is different now, Abdallazak says.
“We spend quality time talking about different things, like HIV, unsafe sex and the use of drugs,” he says. “We develop our budget as a family. My father is friendlier to us and permits us to be part of family decision making.
“Since we joined the Furaha Program, it is well within our family.”
Kizazi Kipya is funded by PEPFAR through USAID. The project's partners include Pact, the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, the Aga Khan Foundation, Railway Children Africa and the Ifakara Health Institute.