Restoring Humanity Youth Project
The project has settled and membership and participation of the groups in the various areas is constant. Athlone is developing slower than the other areas but growing is constant. Due to the demand in Masiphumelele and Atlantis we have decidede to expand the project in the areas. The Atlantis group under the leadership and guidance of Charl will also work with a group of 20 young people in Mamre. It was agreed that the Masiphumelele group will grow to 40 young people to accommodate interested young people. Additional workshops in the community is planned to bring the new comer up to date with the programme.
Networking meetings has been held with Hope Africa and Rethink to explore possible co-operation. The Restoring Humanity Project participated in a programme hosted by the "Baluleka" youth project of District Six and we are discussing future co-operation.
A meeting with Shepi Mati has taken place and we are exploring a youth training model for the group in community radio production and recording stories. This is an ongoing exploration.
Local groups meet often in their communities to consolidate the themes of the project to 30 local participants in three selected areas(Masiphumelele, Atlantis and Athlone). In Masiphumelele and Athlone youth shared stories on the different themes such as healing, human rights and dehumanization that deepen their understanding on the project and subject matter.
On the Freedom day on 27 April 2011, youth from all three areas visited sites of struggle, District Six Meseum, Gugulethu Seven Memorial and Camps Bay Beach. The objectives were: i)to introduce the youth leaders to the past wounds of apartheid, ii)learn about the methods used to dehumanize people/communities during the apartheid and to understand the impact of apartheid on present day youth(stereotypes/prejudices and racist attitudes). At the end of the visit, participants had an understanding of the history of apartheid in the country and its impact on present issues facing young people. Participants also were able to reflect on their own behaviour and attitude that promotes racism.
The Youth Develpment Programme in KZN(Kwazulu Natal)-Curriculum Support Project: The facilitators within the YDP programme have been actively involved and are ready for the Curriculum Project. About 8 of them have attended the Healing of Memories workshops, as a way of fully understanding the whole Healing of Memories Methodology. On the 28th of May there was a meeting and planning the 16th of June event with youth in communities.
Progress report for the Youth Development Programme
January- March 2011
1.0. Restoring Humanity Youth Project
This exciting new initiative will be rolled out in the Western Cape in 2011. It aims to equip young people with the capacity and skills to address actions and attitudes that harm or destroy human dignity in their community, and to re-draw damaging patterns of behaviour. Participants are able to assess the individual, social, economic and political factors that undermine equal worth, and contribute to destructive feelings of inferiority and alienation in the neighbourhoods where they live. They work together to identify and implement solutions that restore dignity, purpose and hope at individual and community level, and produce case studies of their observations and interventions. Learning processes are including workshops, youth platforms, story-telling circles and ‘remembering’ visits and walks.
The first few weeks in February was spent in the conceptualization of the project and developing the implementation plan. This included the identification and meeting of local partner organisation and project leader in each identified area.
Atlantis: Beacon Hill Church – project leader – Charl Damon
Masipumelele: IHOM support group – project leader – Liso Madekane
Athlone: Fusion – project leader - Michael Henkeman
To date the project is engaging 28 youth leaders from the 3 areas. The project leaders have recruited a further 20 youth in their areas to form a local project group of 30 each area. At the present moment Atlantis and Masipumelele is working on par with each other, Athlone needs more support in organizing and planning.
We are also in the process of developing t-shirts and a pamphlet for the project that will assist in popularizing the project and IHOM and take the message of the project forward.
2.0. Youth workshop in De Doorns
Themba facilitated the youth workshop on 4th-5th March and 11th-12 March in De Doorns. This was a joint activity with Scalabrini Centre. 16 participants from Sondela Drama Group attended the workshop. The workshop offered a broader perspective on South Africa’s apartheid years through encouraging young people to reflect on the experiences of different communities and the pain and suffering that occurred in dissimilar contexts. The workshop was focusing on facing the past, facing ourselves, xenophobia issues and teenage pregnancy. Participants also discussed the effects and consequences of choices made by individuals and communities. They discussed about choices of resistance, bystanders, rescuers and perpetrators.
The young people expressed that there is a gap between parents and youth in the community where parents do not talk about the apartheid years on new generations and how the new generation can learn from it. The only new generation learns about the apartheid is through workshops like that, from schools and communities. At the end of the workshop, most young people expressed that they have learned that they have to treat each other in the same way they want to be treated, helping each other, building friendship with other people from other countries in Africa, not judging others by looking outside, listening skills and changing perceptions towards each other.
In Kazulu Natal, the Youth Facilitator training was held on Saturday 19 February 2011. 12 facilitators attended the seminar. This was an opportunity to regroup as facilitators, new and old to look at the year ahead and also enhance our skills around facilitation. At this seminar we look at a range of issues that will enhance facilitator’s skills in facilitation. The seminar was led by Sthembiso Madlala, Organizational Development Practitioner.
Youth Development Programme
The youth development programme mission is about building tomorrow today. We have touched many youth who find themselves confronted by a lot of both negative and positive messages, utterances and deeds by their peers and adults in communities and the nation at large.
How do we learn from the past and yet not become its prisoners? How do young people deal with a history they did not create? How do they become participants in shaping a country that upholds human rights, justice and equality for all? These are questions young people struggle with in our projects and we hope we have managed to help them begin to answer these questions and make positive informed choices.
We have planned to have 2 Youth Peace Academies in 2010, facilitate the Curriculum Support project in 6 high schools, Respond to Request for the Facing the past Shorter Course for youth groups and further develop a team of facilitators to assist in the implementation of our work. Due to the realisation that some youth have been through traumatic experiences in their young lives we also planned to design and pilot a Healing of memories workshop tailor-made for the youth who have been in trouble with the law and those who had been victims of sexual abuse.
Youth Peace Academy
The Youth Peace Academy is a youth development training Camp for youth in Secondary Schools. It’s a good opportunity when you have young people for full 2 and half days engaging them on a number of workshops.
The Youth Peace Academy was held on the 29th – 31st March 2010. We had a great time with the youth who attended the camp. The youth had the opportunity to get a broader picture of what were the experiences of South Africans in the various communities. It was an opportunity for them to begin understanding the complexities of Apartheid years. The youth had the opportunity to learn about the difficult choices made by individual and communities and the consequences of those choices. The themes covered during this camp were Facing the past, Human rights violations and human rights, Identity, Choosing to participate and Relationships with parents.
We always have a cultural evening on the last night of the camp and the youth enjoy it a lot. It’s an opportunity for the youth share their talents like singing, dancing, drama, comedy and enjoying the music and chatting informally with their peers. The youth camp creates an opportunity for the youth learn, share and grow. It’s a space were the youth are challenged to be critical thinkers and be able to make positive informed choices for themselves and their communities. We inspire them to become active citizens and see themselves as people who can make a meaningful contribution in our country.
The Curriculum Support Project is an intense project designed and offered to grade 9 learners in Secondary schools. It was developed to support the learning outcomes of Social Science (History) and Life Orientation. It’s a project that is offered over a period of 2 weeks in each school. We go into a school and work with all the grade 9 classes.
We managed to offer 3 curriculum support projects for the year 2010 during the first and second term of the schools year calendar. There were challenges that confronted us during 2010 towards the end of the second term. South Africa hosted the Soccer World Cup and school were closed for 5 weeks. When the world cup was over, a three weeks teachers strike started. We had a challenge with schools who told us they can’t allow us to implement a 2 weeks project after losing so much time during the world cup and the teachers strike.
Facing the Past Shorter Course
We facilitated about 8 facing the past shorter course with different community youth groups and international students visiting the Institute through different organisations. The workshops with local youth focused on South Africa’s history and assisted the youth to learn about and from South Africa’s past. It’s been an opportunity for the youth to understand the complexities of our history and find lessons they can from that experience. International students learn about our history and how we have and continue to find ways of dealing with the past. We encourage these students to think and share about issues of discrimination in their own context. Sometime the response from the international students has been good in terms of sharing about the challenges in their own context and some groups were not sharing much. They would be interested in engaging more with South Africa’s history and the challenges of reconciliation and nation building. We always find the shorter course experience interesting though its short but people are challenged to reflect, share and learn from one another.
Healing of Memories workshop for youth Pilot
The Healing of Memories Pilot Project came about after a long discussion about the need to develop a model for healing of memories for youth. We realise that some young people are struggling with very heavy emotions because of many challenges they face in their young lives.
We took some exercises from the adults Healing of Memories workshops and developed it for the youth. The pilot was done in August 2010 at Bonny Town Place of safety in Wynbery, Cape Town.
The Bonny Town Place of Safety has about 110 young boys between the ages of 14 and 18. They are placed by the courts pending their cases.
We had 2 days of an hour getting to know you and team building session with the boys to help get them ready and relaxed. We used different exercises and drumming to get the group to be relaxed and prepared for the process. We planned to help the youth to have an understanding of what to expect from the process. The response of some of the youth was really great they shared a lot about their challenging lives and their upbringing, the bad things they got to be involved with in their communities. Most of the young people shared quite deeply and spoke about personal things in their live and what they have done to end up in a youth facility.
Comments made by the youth after attending the workshops:
“I learnt that we should not judge each other and let’s not allow the past to affect our future negatively.”( Ikamvalethu High School, Langa)
“I’ve learnt on how to deal with issues at home with my parents and other youth.”
(Lentergeur High School, Mitchell’s Plain)
“I really liked the drawing of pictures about the relationship we have with our parents. Talking about it was hard but I felt good at the end.” (Lentergeur, Mitchell’s Plain)
Once again, thank you for your recent generous donation to the Youth Development Programme.
Dates: 10th, 11th, 19th, 29th, 24th and 25th August 2010
Duration of each session: the first 2 sessions were 1 hour each and other sessions were 2 hours each.
Venue: Bonny Town Place of Safety
Facilitator: 2 facilitators
Participants: 17 boys between the ages of 16 -18 years
The project we undertook in this youth facility has been discussed and a lot of thinking went to it. We have decided in the Strategic planning meeting that we would pilot a healing of memories workshop for youth, reflect on it and decide on a way forward. Bonny Town Place of Safety was a youth facility we approached for piloting the project. They were happy to welcome us into their facility to work with the boys. They have 110 boys in the facility, who are placed by the courts, while their cases are pending. They are accused of committing crimes from petty crimes to most serious crimes. We went there with a clear understanding that it would be a challenging task to work with these young people.
Selection process of the boys
We had a meeting with Miss Janine Cupido who is the social worker at the Institution and they selected the boys who participated in the programme. 17 boys were selected for the programme.
The selection process is something we could look at because the IHOM principle is that people should attend willingly and I’m not trying to suggest that the boys selected were not willing to participate. This could be discussed with the Institution and suggest that we first present to the boys and they can decide whether they would like to participate.
Getting to know you sessions
The first 2 sessions we had at the facility were mainly getting to know you sessions. We went to the facility with a few musical instruments, ice-breakers and games. The boys really enjoyed the games and ice-breakers we introduced, especially the facilitated interactive drumming we did with them. We felt it was important to have a couple of introductory sessions to get to know the group. These sessions were meant to help the participants to have a clear understanding of what the process would entail. It was a space to prepare them for reflecting on their personal experiences/stories. I believe we did achieve the desired goals for the 2 first sessions with the boys.
Dramatic presentation, Story telling, and the way forward
We had session were we opened a discussion to look at the group’s understanding of healing and the need for healing when we had negatives experiences in our lives.
I presented a monologue about South Africa’s past and the participants were asked to share their feelings and thoughts. Most of the participants were young people and had a a limited understanding of the past of South Africa. We had to tell the story of apartheid and explain how it has affected them indirectly.
When we came to the story telling part, one of the participants felt that he did not want to talk about his past and he won’t be continuing his participation. We tried to explain that he does not have to share what he is not ready to share and explained the benefits. That did not help. We spoke to the social worker and she said she would work with him one on one. The other participants shared quite deeply about their life experiences and how they have had bad upbringings and the bad choices they have made in their lives. The challenge was that some did not see their lives changing because they did not have any support from family. It’s a challenge to encourage someone who has lost hope and is locked up in a facility with no visits from family or friends.
When we did this session were we looked towards the future, some of the participants had hope that they will could change their life style and make better choices. Some spoke about the bad company they mix with in the communities. In this session it was clear to me that the boys knew how their actions were affecting their families, especially their mothers. We had a moving last session with the boys and it was clear to me that some will have to think further about their choices as they have been part of a negative lifestyle for a while.
The lessons we learned in this pilot was that we need to present ourselves to the boys so that they can choose whether they would want to be involved in the project. We need further training of facilitators especially in working with youth in facilities like Bonny Town Place of Safety. We need to understand that healing of memories workshop for youth in a place like Bonny Town will take a different form. There’s a need for special skills to be developed around understanding with working with youth at risk or in trouble with the law.
We will have to do a follow up with that group we worked with, to check how they have progressed. We need to look at what type of other follow up we could do with them or invite other partners to offer specific sessions with the youth.
The pilot was a learning experience and a wake up call about the need to work with youth at risk.
The future of South Africa does not look good if we keep most of young people from disadvantage communities in prisons rather than sending them to school. I believe we can make a meaningful contribution towards healing of memories in the lives of youth in prisons.
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