New UNESCO/Ripple Project highlights changing Attitudes of Single Father

(NATCOM) St. Kitts — A project launched by the Ripple Institute in Collaboration with the National Commission for UNESCO seeks to empower men who have embraced their responsibilities as fathers.

According to Secretary General of the National Commission for UNESCO Mr. Antonio Maynard, the stereotypical view of deadbeat dads is quickly being dispelled and disproven in the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis as more and more fathers are exhibiting a keen interest in advancing their children’s social and educational development and playing a more prominent role.

Based on this paradigm shift both organizations joined forces to help equip fathers with the requisite skills. This programme was launched on Thursday April 30th.

Mr. Maynard said some EC$69,000 has been provided for the programme which is a key avenue for the advancement of male involvement because it not only makes fathers aware of their rights and responsibilities but also provides them with the proper educational training to assist their children with homework and other practical assignments.

A young single father Kareem Joseph, in addressing the gathering gave some encouragement. “A few small words from a father can change the direction that a son is going in,” he said. “A simple I love you; that is all it takes! With the trials and tribulations that we fathers are facing in this system today it needs to change and we need to be men and stand up for our rights and what we believe in.”

Representative of the Ripple Institute and project coordinator Ruth Thomas stated, “The fathers will explore the four key elements of effective parenting: nurture; structure; recognition and empowerment over the next 8 months and will be exposed further over the following months with group activities.”

Chief Education Officer Clarice Cotton, on commenting on the value of the unique unusual opportunity, told fathers to take full advantage of being involved in such a prorgamme.

“Even allow your children to attend the ceremony as you graduate from this programme in a few months,” Ms Cotton said, “Even that will be very meaningful to them and likely to impact them positively. They will be proud of you.”

In delivering the feature address Pastor of the Seventh Day Adventist Church, Sherwin White, said “A good single father makes all the difference in a child’s life. He is a pillar of strength, support and discipline. His work is endless and overtime… While the work may not have any end he realizes that the responsibility lies squarely upon his shoulders. Therefore there are many adjustments that must be made.”

Pastor White commented on the fact that single fathers come about as a result of divorce; conflict or bereavement. He advised participants to be in tune with their specific situation as it can impact children very differently. He also advised them to pay special attention to the age and gender of each child who are in their care.

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