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FWDT: Personal growth for agri workers

Apols and Sofia Kamfer from Bronaar recently completed the Philani training courses: Adult Man and Complete Woman, respectively. They spoke openly about the positive effect the programme had on their personal lives and their marriage.

Apols is a spray operator and Sofia a general worker on Bronaar Farm. They were both single parents and had never been married when they met at a training course three years ago. They got married in 2015 and soon afterward their daughter Akeelha was born. Sofia is originally from De Eike in the Witzenberg valley and her 11-year-old son still lives there with her mother. Apols grew up on Bronaar and his ten-year-old daughter lives with her mother, also in the Witzenberg Valley. Sofia and Apols see their older children regularly.

As part of the Adult Man and Complete Woman programme, the men and women who work on the farm gathered separately and were encouraged to share any problems that they had. The programmes usually run simultaneously for the two groups and at Bronaar the men’s group had around 20 participants and the women’s group had 20 to 30 participants. These group sessions were incredibly useful as in many cases through sharing their problems people found ways to tackle them head-on. It was beneficial for participants to understand what issues their fellow workers had and it also created a spirit of understanding within the group.

“I can definitely say that I benefitted from the Complete Woman programme as I tend to get stressed easily and in the evenings when I got home, I would fuss around cleaning and tidying things around the house and not spend time with my family,” says Sofia. “This programme made me think about what is really important and that I should spend more time being a mom to our daughter and a wife to my husband. This made a difference to our family bond and in turn, I found that I am generally happier and less stressed.”
“The Adult Man programme encouraged us to do some self-evaluation and work on our self-image and this led to a number of positive results,” says Apols. “It is very important to trust and have faith in your partner within a marriage. In the past, I have done things that I was not proud of and the self-evaluation exercise made me realise what is truly important in life and that I needed to return to keeping the promises that I made when I got married. The programme also reminded me that as the head of my household I need to support my wife and lead by example,” he added.

“I also realised that once one is married, the input and material possessions that you bring to a marriage form part of the commitment and that one cannot just get angry and move out with the possessions you brought into the marriage,” explained Sofia. “The emotional commitment to the marriage is important and needs both partners to work at it and solve the conflict.”
Apols explained that the programmes taught both of them life skills that can assist them to face a problem in their home and proactively seek a solution together. “In the past, I have seen how couples live with an unresolved problem by sulking and living past one another in the home. This is tough on the individuals and dreadful for any children in the home,” he explained.
“Something we learned from the course that had never occurred to us before was to greet each other with a little peck kiss before going to work in the mornings and on returning home in the evenings,” says Sofia. “Now our daughter watches us and says she can tell that we love one another, which of course is very endearing to us as a family.”
“The programme was offered with a spiritual angle and reminded us of how important God is in our lives and how important it is to bring religion into our home and we are now more committed to do this every day,” says Apols. Sofia explained that their church community meets on Monday evenings and that they regularly attend and also take their daughter to church and church activities.

The programme also touched on household budgeting and how important it is for a couple to make a communal household budget based on the household income and to stick to this. “The section on finances also taught us how important it was to budget together and to pay off existing debts and also to try to remain debt free as far as possible,” says Apols.
The clear enthusiasm from Sofia and Apols Kamfer about the programmes clearly illustrates that the Adult Man and Complete Woman programmes are able to provide people with personal skills to assist them to cope with the daily challenges that affect individuals and couples.

• The Philani training courses were made possible by the Fruit Workers’ Development Trust – administrated by HORTGRO.

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