This is me, Anna, with my family. I'm mum to Miss 11, Mr 9, and Mr 6. I am married to Azariah and we live in Manchester.
How to set up a Life Village for your child
1. Choose and invite your Life Villagers from those you know (ask a friend to help you if that's easier)
2. Ask your Life Villagers what skill they would like to contribute to the child's life
3. Get the Life Villagers together at a Life Village Gathering
4. Keep in touch with your Life Villagers about your child's life
Hi. I'm Anna, mum of three (ages 11, 9 and 6) and, together with Azariah, my husband, I co-founded the Life Village.
The Life Village is a free tool to enable parents and carers to create a community or 'village' around their family by inviting friends to become 'Life Villagers' for their child. We want every child to have a Life Village and to feel the love and support of a community.
Becoming parents for the first time is daunting. I remember bringing our baby girl home for the first time all wrapped up in her blankets and fast asleep. A sense of panic washed over us: 'Will we have what it takes to be good parents? Do we have any idea what to do with a tiny baby? Help!'
Our families didn't live close by. Plus, we knew there were skills that we didn't have for parenting that others did. So we came up with the idea of the Life Village, a supportive community for a child that we could create ourselves.
We love the African Proverb 'it takes a village to raise a child'. In many countries, when a baby is born, whole villages (aunts, uncles, neighbours, friends) gather round to support the family and care for the child. It takes a whole village to bring out the potential of a child and create healthy families. Yet so many parents feel isolated.
So before our little girl was born, Azariah and I decided together to choose who we wanted to ask to be part of our little one's Life Village. We invited them to join and asked them to consider what skill to contribute. We then set up our first Life Village Gathering where they would all meet her and each other. The aim is for the Life Village to support her until she's 18 years old.
The story so far...
Eleven years on and three children later, the Life Village idea has grown.
All three of our children have their own Life Villages and we have a community supporting our children and our family.
Life Villagers can contribute to a child's life in a variety of ways. One Life Villager has written letters to our daughter. Another member sewed her her first Christmas stocking. Others have offered babysitting.
Parenting can be lonely. Having a Life Village means that we have a supportive community who can help out practically or offer advice when we ask for it. Our children have adults in their life who love them. We hope that as they grow into teenagers, some of the Life Villagers will become role models and mentors.