Saturday, 26 October 2013

Children's Day Celebration-SERFAC

SERFAC is holding a Rally on Sunday, 17th November, 2013 at Marina Beach from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm onward. This Rally is to Revitalize Children's Right- on behalf of National Children's Day (14th Nov'2013). We would like to invite you and your children to take part in this Rally Procession. For details and more information please feel free to call 044-64625913, 044-65150118, 044-65150117. Thanks!

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Sage Publication: Nurturing Families around the World

Building a Culture of Peace
Edited by Dr. Catherine Bernard President and Director, Service and Research Institute on Family and Children and John J Shea Practice Pastoral Care and Counseling, School of Theology and Ministry
Nurturing Families around the World: Building a Culture of Peace aims to offer insight and tools to initiate the healing approach, so that the family finds a creative rebirth. This change in the structure of the family can initiate change within a larger community, a creative rebirth of the entire social community and neighborhood communities so that a new kind of connectedness, mutual caring, empathy and healing is nurtured and fostered.
This book offers profound insights into ways and means of resolving issues of violence and conflict around the world- we must start resolving it now and in this life. The main argument is that families and societies can be provided with the fertile field of a positive culture and civilization that respects diversity, human dignity and uniqueness.

Preface/Introduction Dr. Catherine Bernard/ Nurture- Key to the Security of the 21st Century Family Joan Haliburn/ Polishing the Jewels of Humanity: Sharing Responsibility for Children Victoria Wyszynski Thoresen/ Children’s Emotional Well-being in the Era of Globalization Sami Timimi/Intimacy: Stabilizing and Strengthening Family Life Beverly Musgrave/ The power of the Individual in Building a Culture of Peace John J Shea/ Future of the Family and the Family of the Future: The Unity-based Family and the Advent of a Civilization of Peace H B Danesh/ Index

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Family: Heart of Humanity

This volume is a compilation of key papers presented at the global conference titled “In Defence of the Family: Family, Children and Culture,” held in Bangkok in June 2011. The event marked the 25th anniversary of the Service and Research Institute on Family and Children (SERFAC), headquartered in Chennai, India. SERFAC was established by Dr. Catherine Bernard, MBBS, MS, and collaborators from diverse backgrounds from India and around the world, committed to ensuring the well-being of families so as to address the contemporary moral, spiritual, institutional and technological crises affecting families, children, communities, nations and global society.
An internationally registered non-governmental organization, SERFAC, which enjoys Special Consultative Status with ECOSOC ( the Economic and Social Council) of the UN, works towards creating awareness and sensitizing society to the fact that a healthy family life and its allied institution of marriage constitute the most important resource base and natural environment for the well-being of its members, particularly children.
Families and children across the world face a multitude of ever-changing challenges in an increasingly internationalized culture due to globalization.
It is vital for society to respect the autonomy, integrity, solemnity and sacredness of every unborn child, of every person, individual and family, and for every nation to work towards a meeting at different levels. A dialogue must occur to enrich and celebrate this diversity of family, children and cultures, in order to make the world a more humane and civilized place in which to live. In this way, we can ensure a promising future for humanity.
The Service and Research Institute on Family and Children has made a start in this reversal process by identifying and working with the smallest, yet, at the same time, the most potent social unit- the Family.
Dr. Catherine Bernard, MBBS, MS, India, Founder- President-Director of the Service and Research Institute on Family and Children ( SERFAC), Chennai, India. Dr. Catherine Bernard belongs to Congregation of Sisters of the Cross of Chavanod, France. She is a Medical Doctor by profession and holds a post graduate degree in Religion and Religious Education from Fordham University, New York.
Dr. John Shea, PhD, MSW, USA: Former Professor of the Practice of Pastoral Care and Counseling, in the School of Theology and Ministry, Boston College, Massachusetts, USA. He has over 30 years’ experience in the field of counseling. He is an international lecturer and speaker and has authored several books and numerous articles that focus on spirituality, experiencing and adulthood.

Both Dr. Bernard and Dr. Shea are contributing authors in this volume. The authors of the other papers contained in the book are all eminent and experienced professionals in their respective fields. 
Available at
Cambridge Scholar Publishing
PO Box  302
New Castle Upon Tyne
NE6  1WR
United Kingdom
Call us: +1 919 783 4013
Email us:

Three principles of human security

Three principles of human security to guide social development: Ref: United Nation International Year of the Family 1994, Occasional Papers Series, Families: Agents and Beneficiaries of Socio-economic Development, No 16, 1995
        Three intersecting concepts of justice: intergenerational equity, gender equity and social equity are used in the present paper to develop a framework concerned with the key principles underlying human security.
Intergenerational equity
        The concept of intergenerational equity highlights the cross-generational flows of material, emotional and cultural resources generated by families and by their work of care and nurture in all its dimensions; for children, young people and other family members made vulnerable by age, disability or severe illness. This contribution, in the so-called private domain, is of such magnitude that it demands not only reciprocal public responses in recognition of it, but also a fundamental reconceptualization of family policies not as social expenditure but social investment. Such policies would include family payments, health and welfare services for women and children, recognition in the workplace of the family responsibilities of employees and the expansion of adequately remunerated employment for both men and women. The consequences of such a reframing would see good family policy not as a drain on national budgets, but as social investment and a key element of economic and social development. As such, the three false and misleading dichotomies of : (a) the public and private spheres of life and their social contribution; (b) independent labour force activity and the dependency of family- based carers; and (c) economic policy and family/social policy must be abandoned and replaced by the recognition that family-centred policies are central to social and economic development.
        It is the very recognition of the material and symbolic value of the intergenerational work of families, and their production of public goods that calls forth and legitimates a public policy response in both national and international programmes of action and social development.
Gender equity
        In recent decades, theories and practices of economic development have been challenged for failing to serve women, especially poor women, and in so doing, missing vital opportunities to invest fully and equitably in social development and the well-being of all members of the population, particularly children.
        The principle of gender equity is therefore intrinsic to the rationale of placing families at the heart of social development. Women are the major producers of the family-based services of care and nurture as well as the contributors to all aspects of the formal and informal sectors of the economy. Ignoring the role of families is to obscure the work largely carried out by women in their kinship and local networks and therefore to miss a fundamental human investment opportunity.
Social equity
        The third of the intersecting concepts is social equity, which calls for the redistribution of income and resources to those families whose experience of inequality is greatest, and carries with it the most damaging consequences for the life chances and opportunities of their children. These include families who are unemployed, who have low incomes, who are headed by women, who are migrants and refugees, who have been displaced by war and civil strife, or those families, particularly indigenous families, who experience the deeply entrenched disadvantages of discrimination.
        At a systemic level, social equity calls for measures that empower families as full participants in the processes of economic and social life. Fundamental to such empowerment are forms of social protection that would entrench the right to employment and the right to an adequate income during periods of unemployment, under-employment or withdrawal from the work force to fulfil family caring responsibilities. The other major foundation of social protection for families is access to secure and affordable housing. Paying proper attention to social equity would also prompt action regarding economic policy to stimulate job creation and growth, to establish measures to ensure that low-income families do not bear the costs of industrial restructuring, to support women seeking to participate in employment if that is their choice, and to address gender-related wage differentials.
        A more socially just distribution of resources to families, and in particular to families who are disadvantaged by social and economic processes, will only occur if strong and sustained investment is made in the provision of employment, education and training; affordable housing; redistributive family income support; good and sufficient health and welfare services for families, women and children; and services for care of the disabled and the elderly. When such investment is made as the key input to social, economic and family development, families and their individual members are enabled to be full participants in the life of employment, community, politics and civil society.

        The exclusion of families from traditional economic development paradigms reveals the limitations of ignoring a whole sphere of production. If there is no recognition, or insufficient recognition of the contribution made by families to social and economic development, then there are no institutional responses that might begin to redress those inequalities in the course of life (differing levels of economic welfare at different stages of the family life cycle), and vertical inequalities ( inequalities of income and wealth between families). The interactive nature of the principles of intergenerational equity, gender equity and social equity thus dissolves the distinction, indeed the dichotomy of private and public spheres of activity and responsibility, signaling that the two are intrinsically interdependent.         
VIOLENCE IN THE FAMILY: (United Nations International Year of the Family 1994, Occasional Papers Series, Family and Crime No.3 1992)
        Prevention of domestic violence is of utmost importance. Recourse to physical force by parents on children and by spouses when dealing with each other promotes the use of violence outside the family.
        Verbal and emotional maltreatment and abuse can be as intimidating, demoralizing, damaging, troubling and terrorizing as physical abuse. Verbal insults and humiliations, repeated constantly in a young lifetime, are what socializes children into violence and sets them apart from the other youngsters who learn quite different lessons in their family and social interactions.
        Violence causes feelings of entrapment, degradation and humiliation. Self-blame is common to all victims of family violence. The deleterious effect of violence in the family underscores the need for effective preventive and treatment strategies. Once family interactions become dominated by violent processes, the situation is difficult to alter.
        However, numerous programmes around the world prove that families can be helped even in these situations. Activities of immediate protection and assistance include shelters, emergency telephones, self- help and governmental groups for battered women and children, and therapy programmes. For offenders, only limited therapeutic treatment is available.
        In some countries, self-help efforts have been the response to perceived police inactivity or insensitivity to the occurrence of domestic violence. Numerous countries have voluntary mutual defence groups. In one community, “habitant groups” take measures to prevent domestic violence from escalating by placing the victim with another family for a short period and disciplining the offender. “Neighbourhood watch” programmes and other community self-help programmes can effectively expose and intervene in maltreatment, diminishing the level of tolerance for it. The importance of providing immediate protection has been borne out by cross-cultural studies highlighting the readiness of kin and neighbours to intervene in violent or potentially violent situations in societies with non-violent child-rearing practices and relatively low incidences of wife battery.
        Special measures have been introduced to protect children from both domestic abuse and violence outside the home. Examples include neighbourhood car pools organized to drive children to and from school and extracurricular activities and the designation of certain homes in the neighbourhood with special decals as safe houses where a child in danger or fear may seek refuge and assistance.
        What complicates the prevention of violence is the fact that violence in the family is frequently influenced by broader cultural patterns. Research suggests that battery in the family is related to the general level of violence that exists in a particular society.

        Violence constitutes an abuse of power. It often emerges from the desire to dominate, degrade, subjugate, possess and control others. In the long run, the promotion of human rights, better education and the improvement of the status of women are needed, as well as a change of attitude towards domination, be it sexual or any other kind. Training individuals in the dynamics of successful family relationships includes the promotion of gender equality, equality in partnership between spouses and the teaching of coping skills. The starting- point is to strengthen the strong and well- functioning aspects of families. 

            Available to purchase at

        Cambridge Scholars Publishing
        PO Box 302
        New Castle upon Tyne
        NE6 1WR
        United Kingdom
        Call us: +1 919 783 4013

Thursday, 19 September 2013


SERVICE AND RESEARCH INSTITUTE ON FAMILY AND CHILDREN (SERFAC) was inaugurated at the First World Congress “Family and Culture” on November 1, 1986 in Chennai, India. SERFAC was established by Dr. Sr. Catherine Bernard a physician, and collaborators from diverse professional backgrounds from India and the world. The entire team is committed to the well being of families: moral, spiritual, institutional and technological crises brought on by globalization that affects families, children, communities, nations and the global society.
Operative Methods and Action:
SERFAC offers a platform of ‘Hope and Possibility’ to parents, care-givers, policy makers and professionals that there are positive and constructive alternatives to the increasing episodes of violence experienced in society. Violence is institutionalized in nations and the world community most of which originate from experiences of family violence and breakdown.
Therefore minimizing violence starts in the family with focus on couples especially young couples through programmes: pre-marriage guidance some of which focus on young adults and teenagers through educational sessions such as on human sexuality, relationships identity etc. and for children by educating parents in responsible parenthood.
SERFAC’s programmes are pre-emptive and pro-active i.e. focuses on the strengths and positive rather than the problem and the consequences eg. understanding the cause of child abuse and how it emotionally destroys the child as a person. Consequently why a healthy family environment is important to prevent child or domestic abuse/violence. This is done through seminars and training programmes is educating parents on the importance of child  protection is. It also explains to parents and elders where to begin and direction to move so as to offer children of different ages ‘safe place’ for their development.
What is explained above is one such programme. SERFAC similarly does this in all its programmes. Build on the strengths for it believes that building on strengths empowers people and families and consequently minimizes violence and other related  problems.  This approach is diagrammatically shown in the following:

Summary of this approach is as follows:
1.      Family formation, nurturance and socialization
a.     Support of family values, preservation and protection of culture
b.    Family Life Education and education for living.
c.     Pre-marriage Guidance  (available online also)
2.     Family functioning: care and protection
a.     Interpersonal communication and guidance for marriage
b.    The gift of children- Birth regulation and natural family planning
c.     Family and career- Distinct roles and financial management.
3.     Family resilience and spirituality
a.     Family stress, trauma and bereavement
b.    Stressors and pressures against family life.
c.     Family, society and globalization
4.     Family support and enrichment
a.     Giving children a voice
b.    Listening
c.     Single parenting
d.    Nurturing family and intervention

For further details Contact:
Dr. Catherine Bernard
Director SERFAC
1/157, Manimangalam Road, Varadarajapuram
Tel: 44-64625913, 44-65150118
web site: serfacglobal

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Essential Economic Tasks of the Family

Essential Economic Tasks of the Family- A Business Model for Workwhile Investment: Using the Epigenetic Model of Erik Erikson's Stages of Development.

Essential Tasks of the Family                                        Stages of Development
(Stages 1-4 are to be negotiated during childhood)
Nurturance                              Trust vs Mistrust (negotiated in 1st year of life)
Transmission of Values          Autonomy vs Shame & Doubt (Usually in 2nd year of life)
                                                Initiative vs Guilt (usually between 4 & 5th years)
Transmission of Culture        Industry vs Inferiority (usually negotiated in the primary School years)
                                                            Stage 5
                                               Identity vs Identity Diffusion (negotiated in Adolescence)
Primary Tasks of the Family During Stages 1-6,
                                                Stage 6: Self Actualization
                                                Actualization of Adolescence/ Beginning of Adulthood Employment, Sustenance and Development
Secondary Tasks of the Family Flow from effective living of Essential and Primary Tasks supported by Environment and Social Support Systems.
                                                Stages 7 & 8 : Adulthood-Generativity vs Isolation

Emergence                              Responsibility, Creativity, Productivity and sustainability of Investment- Linkages in Business success.



Defend Family

SERFAC is a conducive place for human and spiritual experience.