children Funda Nenja
Photo Credit: Funda Nenja

Funda Nenja roughly translates from isiZulu as ‘learning with a dog’ which aims to develop respect and compassion by helping children train their dogs


Funda Nenja runs in the township of Mpophomeni, near Howick, in the KZN Midlands of South Africa. On average, 100 children and their dogs attend weekly dog training sessions which happen on Friday afternoons at Zamethule Primary School in the township.

These lessons not only teach the dogs some skills, it helps the children bond with their pets and form a deeper connection. These new classes help educate children in animal welfare and encourage them to show their families how to treat animals.

Classes are taught by volunteer instructors and some of the instructors are previous pupils who have gone through the training programme themselves.

All dogs on the programme are given a collar and a lead and are dewormed. The children are given training treats during classes to help with training and sent home with a small bag to continue training in a familiar environment.

The overall health and welfare of the animals is monitored for disease etc and primary veterinary care is given by our Animal Welfare Officer. Dogs needing veterinary attention are referred to uMngeni SPCA which also sterilises the animals for a nominal fee.

Children on the programme learn about animal welfare and how to train their dogs while learning self-discipline, commitment and responsibility which encourages personal growth and self-worth.

The well-being of children is cared for by the services of a Social Worker who engages with the children and intervenes if their families need support in areas such as counselling, accessing vital documents for social grants or referrals to other agencies. At each training session, the learners are given a fruit juice and a piece of fruit.

The organisation works on donations from the public. They accept all dog related items which are used during the classes or sent home with the children. They also regularly get other types of donations which has helped them start a jumble sale to raise funds for the charity.

“Recently we have had quite a few donations of clothing and household items, so we have decided to hold a jumble sale in Mpophomeni where the parents of the Funda Nenja children can come and purchase various items. The prices will range from R5 – R20 per item. The funds raised in this way will assist us in continuing to make a positive difference to the lives of both children and dogs in Mpophomeni.”

The organisation shared how people can get involved in making donations. Lisa is the point of contact or they have a number of drop-off points in KZN that will take in donations for the animals and the jumble sales.

If anyone has second-hand items in good condition…… clothes, shoes, kitchenware, linen, ornaments etc….. that they would like to donate towards our jumble sale, please let us know by calling Lisa on 0826575201. Alternatively, you can drop off the items at any one of our drop off zones:

In Howick:
Howick Small Animal Clinic
Findlater Attorneys
Village Talk offices
Paul Hamburger Photography

In Hilton:
Umgeni Vets
Hilton Vets

Chase Valley Vets

Take a look at some of the children with their dogs below, it is just the sweetest!

Sources: Facebook
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About the Author

Tyler Leigh Vivier is a writer for Good Things Guy.

Her passion is to spread good news across South Africa with a big focus on environmental issues, animal welfare and social upliftment. Outside of Good Things Guy, she is an avid reader and lover of tea.

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