By Osman Shihaby and Ahmed Ali
A camp is a good way to build relationships between dads and kids.
The African dads and kids camp was organised by the Catholic Care and the Victorian Police. The three-day camp was at Queenscliff and there were about 26 dads with their kids.
There were many different nationalities, for example people from Sudan, Eritrea, Somalia, Zimbabwe and Djibouti.
The idea of the camp was to build strong relationships between the dad and the kids – they want the families to be strong, sticking together and helping each other.
They want the father and the son or daughter get to know each other. With the fathers working all the time it feels like they’ve not seen their kids for a long time because they don’t have time together, and there’s a lot of gaps between them.
Because the son or the daughter were born here they’ve missed a lot of history from their dads and how their lives were in their home country.
On the first night the kids had an opportunity to know about their dad’s life back in their home country and there was sharing of ideas between them. They father and the kids started to draw their houses. The fathers had to draw the house where they grew up and the kids had to draw their house today. When they finished the fathers explained to the kids about their families, the house and the animals that lived there too.
The dads and kids had fun outside playing in the sun. Some of the dads sat down and talked about how they’ve struggled to come to Australia. While dads were talking the kids went inside had fun playing on the pool and the table tennis.
The last of day of camp everybody went to the beach. The fathers and the kids walked together along the beach picking up shells and rocks.
At nighttime everybody gathered around the big fire and the fathers told stories they had heard from their mothers and fathers.
The camp was very successful, one of fathers said, ”I had a good time, staying with my child on my own it created a good understanding, good relationship and from the training in the camp I learned better way of communication between me and my child, and we have sports like Football, Soccer, Basketball, Table tennis”
“I learned to give time every day to my children so I know their ability and what they doing in school.”
The children also learned more about their fathers – where they come from, what their life was like back home in Africa.
It was a good experience and the kids hope every father has the opportunity to get a parenting lesson so they will have a good and healthy relationship with their children.