Published On: 1 May 2024Tags: ,

SFSC is an inclusive parenting programme designed for families from all ethnic, cultural and spiritual backgrounds. Having diverse groups is an ideal opportunity to develop understanding and cohesion within multicultural communities. However for some, the language barrier can prevent participation in such groups. To combat this, we deliver SFSC in a range of community languages.

In this issue, we hear from our Programme Officer Maryam, on her experiences of delivering SFSC in Urdu.

As a facilitator who has delivered SFSC in Urdu for over ten years, I have noticed many benefits and long-lasting outcomes for the parents I have worked with. These fall into three main areas: Mental Health, Confidence and Family Life.

Mental Health: My SFSC programmes typically have a gender focus with a tendency to support mums. Many of these women stay home to look after their children, which can lead to feelings of isolation. As the weeks go on, the sessions become a social activity that the women really look forward to. We start to notice changes in their appearance – they are making an effort to dress up and look fresher. Whilst this might seem small, it is a sign that the women are beginning to prioritise themselves. This would be difficult to achieve in a group not delivered in their native language, as the women would not be able to participate fully and truly express themselves. 

When it comes to discussing difficult topics, such as domestic violence and depression, language-specific groups mean that not only are parents able to speak without worrying about how to articulate themselves in a language not often used, they are also in a safe space with others who understand the cultural taboos. This can be a powerful experience.

Confidence: In my sessions, I cover topics such as People as Resources, the Community Action Council and regularly bring in community speakers. Through this, the women have begun to realise that there are opportunities for them to be involved in other projects, volunteer, study or work. The support and motivation they get from other group members is a big factor in ensuring they follow through on such ideas, often arranging to do these activities with others. In my current group, a large proportion have  gone on to do ESOL classes and some have started volunteering with a local children’s homework club. I believe these outcomes are a direct result of engaging in a language that the women are confident in.

Family life: Many of the women I support report improved relationships with their children, through the use of positive discipline techniques. They are also more confident in facing conflict situations with their co-parents, should they arise, and have developed skills to resolve these successfully. However, the benefits do not stop there. By learning about assertive communication, the mothers feel empowered to create positive change for their families and take a more proactive approach to solving problems such as meeting with school staff, or health professionals.

All in all, delivering SFSC in community languages can be a first stepping stone and gateway to many other positive outcomes for families that will have a lasting impact.

Interested in delivering SFSC in a community language? Get in touch: