Life Skills Facilitator, mentor, counselor, and pastoral care are just a few titles Mr Thami Thomo goes by. One would think the family man has his hands full with two of his own children, two adopted teens and now a father figure for many kids at the Sparrow Foundation School. However, Thomo is not fazed by it all, he takes fatherhood seriously, drawing inspiration from his own journey; being raised by a single mother after losing his father at the tender age of six.
Thomo is part of the multifaceted Learner Support Unit team responsible for psychological wellness of the learners at the remedial school. His involvement in the Pastoral Care unit includes constant nurturing, self-esteem rebuilding, encouraging parental involvement for those learners with parents and often mentoring the boy child without a biological father figure. “When mentoring; positive punishment and exclusion of intimidation is vital. The emphasis is on love and instilling a structure for the boy child”, Thomo explains. He has been confronted by a number of learner cases where hurt, anger and sometimes brokenness is evident. Many of the learners have been stigmatized for attending a remedial school, some have lost their parents or even abandoned. “It is my duty to restore their self-esteem and teach them life skills using biblical references,” Thomo says.
Considering the amount of time children spend in the school environment an attempt to model a father figure is a fair chance at reversing the negative effects of our fatherless society.
Such interventions are aimed at enabling the ability to understand one’s self and coping with the challenges life brings. This proactively eliminates the number of children with a negative image of men. “It has to start somewhere and my start is You are Loved, You Belong and You are Precious,” Thomo says with a smile reciting the motto he has instilled in his learners.