“Great Beginnings: Giving infants better Outcomes” is a grass roots project to rebuild stable and healthy relationships and families in disadvantaged communities of the Western Cape, South Africa, (using an adapted version of the GOTTMAN Bringing Baby Home program), thus strengthening the social structure.
While being respectful of cultural differences and by adapting and creating a “context specific” manual, “Great Beginnings” will train Community and Faith based leaders living in the Townships (who have already shown great enthusiasm to be involved), to improve couples’ relationships particularly with carers of the most vulnerable, at risk infants.
By equipping the Care Givers with better communication and conflict management skills, plus creating awareness of optimal newborn and infant development, including emotional intelligence, these trained Facilitators will positively impact the worsening social situation in South Africa and abate the breakdown of family and social structures there.
The social problems facing South Africa are very complex and there are no quick fix solutions. This is a six year project which will include a pilot research component teaching these skills to adolescents, to establish the effectiveness of the program so that it can later be replicated throughout South Africa.
Year one of the project has already been completed in 2016, self-funded by Rosslyn Vroom (which included researching program viability and training of the first 4 Facilitators in Cape Town) Initially the project will focus on local communities in Cape Town, and with collaboration of Facilitators and community feedback, will adapt and improve the model, establishing the program and making it self-sustainable. Church leaders will play a crucial role in helping heal relationships with broken individuals and families, making it possible for infants to be raised in stable loving families.
At the end of the five year period, the goal is to have created 100 permanent part time positions for trained Facilitators, and for four of these facilitators to have trained in the USA to become “Train the Trainers”, thus ensuring the Community can continue to train more Facilitators and continue replicating the program, making it self-sustaining. The program can then be replicated throughout South Africa. Year Six of the program is to complete the research with adolescents.