New Group session for Single Mothers at Secret Garden

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We have started a new group session for single mothers,  which runs each Sunday at the Secret Garden, an English Club that supported by C4C under it “Global citizen facilitation” program, developed and facilitated by a Clinical Psychologist from the UK. The sessions have three key aims. We hope firstly to build a safe space for single mothers to meet together to build trust in each other, so they can have a long lasting support network. We hope that this is something which will continue beyond the group and where women will continue to meet, share their experiences, learn from each other and help each other. This would potentially be an invaluable source of support for these women, who are commonly isolated and ostracized from their communities.

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Traditionally in Vietnam, people do not share their problems and hide their difficulties. We want women to feel that they are able to be honest in our group, to talk openly and freely so that they do not have to hide away.

Our second aim is to build psychological knowledge, life skills and coping strategies. Each session on a Sunday has a different focus, with topics including things like: Self-esteem, confidence, parenting, managing stress, domestic violence and relationships. We aim to give practical tips to manage life. However, this is balanced by discussions about culture and the specific problems which single mothers in Vietnam face. As their confidence grows we hope to engage the women in group therapy sessions to focus on coping with the any adversities they have faced in their life, such as violence, abuse and loss for example.

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Our final aim is that women will build confidence in sharing their stories, again overcoming the tradition of silence. We hope this will give the women more of a voice about how society treats them in Vietnam. We are investigating the possibility of gathering stories to put together in a collection, which we want to publish internationally. We feel it is important that we shed light on the difficult circumstances which face single mothers, often which they have no control over,  and the disparity and inequality between men and women. But more importantly that the women may have a chance to overcome the shame, stigma and judgement that they face every day through telling their stories with each other.

by Jannine Dowling

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