Funda Nenja forges ahead
Since its small beginnings in July 2009, Funda Nenja has grown from strength to strength and continues to make a positive impact on the community of Mpophomeni where the Initiative meets every Friday afternoon. Funda Nenja’s uses dog training as a vehicle to reduce isolation, increase self- confidence, communication and co-operation skills in young people and develops respect and compassion for all living things. It is also practical animal welfare education happening at grass roots level and helps to break down social and cultural barriers in the community with Black and White volunteers working side by side with the local township dog owners.
The mostly young handlers develop a close bond with their dogs together with social skills which contribute to a sense of self-worth, a new-found poise and the development of leadership skills. Several of the more experienced dog handlers and volunteers have now progressed to becoming instructors themselves, and by leading Funda Nenja classes, pass on their knowledge to newer participants in the programme.
Funda Nenja now fields a team that regularly demonstrates dog obedience and handling skills at various public events such as the uMngeni SPCA Township Dog Show, the Witness Garden Show, the World of Dogs and Cats Expo and the latest being at the annual Horse and Hound Extravaganza in Cato Ridge on 1 April. These outings are thoroughly enjoyed by the youngsters as it not only gives them a chance to show off their dogs, but to also participate in whatever is on offer at these events. At the Horse and Hound Extravaganza, the boys and their dogs had great fun competing in the Super Dog Challenge where participants had to negotiate different kinds of obstacles and attempt exercises like retrieving a ball out of a basin of water!
Funda Nenja needs ongoing support in order to continue its unique outreach work in Mpophomeni. Donations of dog food are always needed, as well as volunteers to assist with Friday afternoon sessions. Dog training experience is not necessary, though a love of dogs and young people would be an advantage. It is not expected that volunteers commit to weekly duties and even occasional assistance would be much appreciated. Please contact Adrienne for further details or check out our Facebook page and www.fundanenja.co.za.