Pacific faith-based initiative tackles domestic violence issues within Tongan families

Photo / Pasifika FuturesAn innovative Pacific faith-based initiative is addressing family violence prevention and intervention within Tongan families living in Aotearoa.

Made possible through Pasifika Futures sponsorship funding, 22 Tongan families attended the Kainga Tu’umalie programme retreat in February, which requires families to spend the weekend away relationship building, identifying problem areas and designing a family plan to support their goals.

Peta Adams*, one of the fathers who participated in the retreat experience says the programme has encouraged him to be a better father and role model.

“I think for me the most important lesson that I learned from the programme is the significance of family, especially my children and to take care of them.”

“I thought that my responsibility was just to go to work and come home and sleep and get drunk. After the programme, I gave up drinking as well as smoking because I needed to take care and provide for my children.” says Mr Adams.

The weekend retreat focuses on relationship building within the families, providing a safe environment for families to openly discuss and identify issues together. Families are encouraged to make decisions about how they can achieve a healthier, happier, more resilient family life and move forward in a positive direction.

This retreat gives families the opportunity to develop their own tools and Kainga Plans through honest, self-assessment. Families are empowered to uphold their family plans that they created together with weekly follow up sessions after the retreat to support and reinforce their plan.

Affirming Works is the organisation that delivers the Kainga Tu’umalie programme to families from four Tongan church denominations: Seventh Day Adventist, Catholic, Methodist and Pentecostal, with an estimated reach of over 2000 families altogether. They believe that the influence of the church is significant in the Tongan community as they continue to explore faith-based approaches to address family violence.

You can find more about how Affirming Works support the Pasifika community by visiting their website www.affirmingworks.org.nz