Family and Marriage Society of SA (FAMSA-Knysna) has been operating on the Garden Route for many years. They have trained counsellors, skilled in all potential problem areas encountered in relationships, marriages, families and communities and are available to give assistance where and when necessary. The counsellors hail from all cultural and language groups and a request can be made for particular requirements.
FAMSA-Knysna's mission is to build a self-reliant, resilient society, by empowering the individual's capacity to build and maintain healthy interpersonal relationships in the family, and in the community - especially where that capacity is threatened by risk factors such as depression, suicide, rape, domestic violence, crime, substance abuse and HIV/AIDS.
FAMSA's fulltime staff and volunteer counsellors in the greater Knysna area including Sedgefield and Plettenberg Bay) offer personal counselling services to anyone who feels that their well-being, ability to function optimally or close relationships are under threat, irrespective of their ability to pay for the services.
The purpose of this service is to provide support to vulnerable families/individuals in such a way that they may find the immediate emotional support they need to cope in the time of a crisis and in the longer term, be empowered to find their own positive solutions to their problems.
FAMSA offers various Training Courses for members of the public, employers,
employees and volunteers. These include the following:
Family Foundation Training Course (FFT)
This is a 12-day course presented in 4-days blocks over a period three months
followed by skill upgrading workshops.
Others include WIN Facilitators, Lifeskills Facilitators, VEP (Victim empowerment program) training, Personal Growth, Self Image, Conflict Management; Communication Skills; Life Planning; Relationship with self; Crises Management; Domestic Violence; Understand Depression, Protection Orders, Addictions workshop, Aids workshop, Violence Awareness, Court Procedures, Trauma Debriefing, Basics of Groupwork, Pre-Marital, Parenting Skills and Marriage Counselling
Women in Need Program (WIN)
In order to attain FAMSA's vision of building healthy relationships, they need to
train women in the communities to run educational and support groups on Domestic Violence. Through these support groups FAMSA will be reaching large numbers of people in the communities.
The WIN Project addresses the high rate of Domestic Violence and child abuse that is resulting in the disintegration of families, poor performance at school, mental disorders, illness and alcohol and drug abuse. Abused women are often isolated, afraid and locked into a position of helplessness, as they do not have the emotional and legal support, or the knowledge, to break the cycle of abuse.
Rehabilitation and Empowerment of Men project (REM)
The REM project arose as a result of limitations of traditional couple counselling approaches to effectively deal with the levels of violence against women and children in families and the ineffectiveness of these approaches in addressing their safety. Through group counselling this project aims to guide the perpetrator in moving away from violent abusive styles, helping them achieve non-violent, equality-based intimate relationships. Individual counselling and support is also given to men who are in need of advice. FAMSA also assists the Correctional Services with the re-integration of perpetrators into society after having served their sentences.
Victim Empowerment Program (VEP)
Since April 2002, FAMSA - Knysna has been offering a service from the Trauma-rooms at Knysna, Plettenberg Bay and Sedgefield Police Stations to victims of crime. They also offer these services at the Magistrates Court in Knysna, where members of the public are assisted who have to experience the trauma of Court procedures. FAMSA - Knysna runs this Victim Empowerment Project because of it's mission to empower people.
The program also entails the establishment of community based volunteer networks linked to their local Community Police Forum (CPF) and police station. Trained victim support volunteers provide basic practical and emotional support and refer traumatized victims (who may require professional counselling) to appropriate services, which include FAMSA trained counsellors at the police stations, the magistrate court and the FAMSA Knysna main office. They also provide support to the victim throughout the criminal justice process from the time of the initial reporting of the crime at the station to the closing of the case.
Victim empowerment is about making it possible for a victim of crime to heal and
move on from the crime with the least possible harm or loss. It is making sure that the victim is empowered to contribute to restorative justice, by enhancing internationally accepted victims rights, as agreed by the United Nations.
Youth Development Project
FAMSA - Knysna offers Lifeskills training courses aimed at the youth aged between twelve (12) and eighteen (18) years. The purpose is to empower participants so that they are able to make responsible choices, build and maintain healthy relationships and have access to a range of alternative responses to crises that will allow them to cope in a life-affirming manner when such crises impact on their lives.
FAMSA - Knysna chose to adapt their intervention methods to the changing environment and society. They offer many different services, but the foundation
remains relationship counselling to protect and preserve family life. FAMSA believe
that the Family is the nucleus of society and individuals who come out of a happy family environment will make positive citizens and be of benefit to their communities. To meet the needs of our changing society they extended our services and offer support to all people, at all stages of life and under any circumstances. FAMSA are proud of all their activities especially the expansion of our services into the previously disadvantaged communities and thus reaching more people who were until now unable to access their services.
We are a Non-Profit Organization and receive minimal funding from the Government (22% of our expenditure). The balance has to be raised through fundraising and the goodwill of the community. We appeal for support as the need for our services is increasing daily and we can only provide as much assistance as what our resources allow. Do not hesitate to contact us with any queries.