Initiative profile (www.fundanenja.co.za)
Funda Nenja, which roughly translates from isiZulu to ‘learning with the dog’, is a registered Non-Profit Organisation and Public Beneficiary Organisation working with children and their dogs in the Mpophomeni township near Howick in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands in South Africa. Funda Nenja capitalises on the recognised use of animals or pets as a tool to facilitate learning. The popularity of the initiative shows that is has developed a unique means to access a large number of children from this disadvantaged community. Each week an average of 100 community children and their dogs attend the Funda Nenja dog training classes which are structured to use dog training skills as a means to impact positively on the psychosocial development of the children by improving self-confidence, a sense of worth and self-discipline and develop respect and compassion for all living things through promoting a bond between child and dog. Positive development of these psychosocial values in a child is aligned with a greater chance of becoming a happy, fulfilled adult and thus their importance in childhood cannot be dismissed. The impact of Funda Nenja on these values was confirmed in the research on the Funda Nenja programme by an Honours Psychology student in 2013.
In addition to the benefits to the children offered through their relationship with their dog, Funda Nenja employs an Auxiliary Social Worker who offer counselling for the children and their families. She also holds life skills lessons and workshops. She attends the dog school classes as an opportunity to meet with a large number of the community children to identify vulnerable children needing social support. She assists with acquiring social security grants, advice for correct medical care and referral to specialised agencies. Her work supplements the psychosocial intervention achieved through the classes thus allowing the Funda Nenja concept to impact as holistically as possible on the children’s lives.
We have a full veterinary team who attend to all the dogs' medical and welfare needs, such as vaccinations, sterilisations, de-worming, tick & flea control etc. The programme aims to teach the children how to take care of and train their dogs using positive reinforcement training.
Funda Nenja aims to:
- Assist in psychosocial development of community children by building self-esteem, encouraging self-discipline and goal setting and raising awareness about life skills topics;
- Provide free dog training classes for the children;
- Offer free veterinary treatment to the dogs in the community;
- Educate the children and community about animal welfare;
- Promote compassion and kindness to all living things;
- Enable vulnerable children to access social grants and social support.
Funda Nenja is a unique initiative that uses dogs to touch the lives of children and improve the welfare of these dogs. But we want to do more and need your help, please donate to our cause and help us grow our project.
Funda Nenja is a registered NPO (085-038-NPO) and a Public Benefit Organisation (PBO 930 045 482) to allow donors to claim tax deductions on their donations. Funda Nenja is also certified to allow companies to claim Black Economic Empowerment points in the Social and Economic Development category.
You can learn more by visiting our website (www.fundanenja.co.za) or find us on Facebook.