Education  Fiji Project #23260

Changing the Culture of Violence in Fiji

by Virtues Project International Association
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Changing the Culture of Violence in Fiji
Changing the Culture of Violence in Fiji
Changing the Culture of Violence in Fiji
Changing the Culture of Violence in Fiji
Changing the Culture of Violence in Fiji
Changing the Culture of Violence in Fiji
Changing the Culture of Violence in Fiji
Changing the Culture of Violence in Fiji
Changing the Culture of Violence in Fiji
Changing the Culture of Violence in Fiji
Changing the Culture of Violence in Fiji
Handing over Parenting booklet in Fijian language
Handing over Parenting booklet in Fijian language

This is part one of a two part report on how the 5 strategies of The virtues Project™ can change a community, not just individuals.

In 2010 Virtues Project Fiji carried out parenting training in some 40 or so villages in one Province in the nation (there are 16 Provinces). In one of these villages the population had no self esteem or self respect. The village compound was a mess of rubbish, homes were unkempt, children dropped out of school at 15 or younger and just hung around doing nothing. People living there were depressed and people outside commented on the low level of life in this community.

One Virtues Project facilitator was married to a fellow from this district and decided to see what could be done to change things. Following the introductory workshop she spent over six months and many follow up visits to watch the community change and became completely different. The community decided that the village council would no longer be just the older men but it would include women and youth in ongoing consultation. Out of this process the village was fenced to keep out animals, the houses were clean and women decorated the interiors to make them attractive. The council agreed that every child would stay at school and where possible attend University as there had been no University graduate in their history.

Now 8 years have passed. What has happened? Did this community maintain its new outlook and continue with using the 5 strategies of The Virtues Project™? Did it move further forward, what happened to the children and have any gone to University yet?

Some enquiries have been made and it would appear that the community has grown even further with small businesses developing and a strong sense of self worth.

Our next activity is to visit this community and some of the surrounding villages and find out exactly where they are at the moment, and what it has meant to their neighbours.

We will report to you as soon as we have whatever we find out.

Virtues poster listed in Fijian language
Virtues poster listed in Fijian language
Participants discussing parenting at workshop
Participants discussing parenting at workshop
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Tool Box for Virtues training
Tool Box for Virtues training

The work for the Virtues Project Fiji continues to grow. Communities continue to request training in the Virtues Project strategies throughout the country and some of these requests arise from word of mouth as families who are trained share with theirfriends and family members how much change and happened and how much easier it is for the family to work together. The puppets continue to play their part, especially with the children who learn how the virtues work to make their lives better.

Facilitators working with the Virtues Project understand that the Five Strategies are the 'tools' that enable people to work with the 'gifts withing' - those innate qualities we call virtues, which need to be nurtured and grow in each individual. To make it easier for participants to understand this, facilitators in Fiji have designed a 'tool box' containing the Five Strategies. Each strategy has been defined in a way that can be used in any situation in which facilitators are working.

Virtues Project Fiji is challenged with insufficient staff and funds to carry out the work. The contact that we have developed with youth in the area where we work is to be utilized to engage more youth in the project. The plan is to capture the energy in the youth to carry forward the work with the puppets and the community training. In addition, in the early part of 2018, facilitators will be visiting organizations and ministers of government whjo are deeply concerned with the abuse that continues in Fiji, to share teh Virtues Project Tool Box and seek their support to promote this within their own operations. 

Thank you for your continued support for our work. You truly are  making a positive difference in the lives of our people, givingthem the tools to enhance their lives and relationships.

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Belinda with her puppet
Belinda with her puppet

A review of what the puppet project has achieved is taking place now with visits to the communities who have been involved with the project. Reports are coming in that children are making puppets in their communities and this will help them express their problems and wishes. The puppets speak on behalf of the children who would otherwise not talk about what is happening in their lives. Facilitators can then talk through the puppets and help the children find the virtues which will help them solve their problems. 

There are resports which need to be followed through of some school teachers using puppets to help the children they teach to work through the challenges life poses. The Virtues Project Fiji will expand its work to provide more training to teachers in how the puppets and the Virtues Project work together with among other things the ability to control a class room and to provide positive discipline.

The results of the review are to be presented to government heads of department and ministers as there has been a lot of publicity and media attention on the issue of bullying and abuse of women and children this past year. There is no solution offered and all that is said is that it must stop. This is where the Virtues Tool Box is being developed to show that action can be actively undertaken to address the issue. The presentation to the ministers will include the Tool Box and an explanation of how it works.

In addition to working on the puppets and the problems of abuse the Virtues Project Fiji continues to work with the villages on management and on helping women develop their business skills using the virtues of honesty, trustworthiness and integrity.

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Rural unemployed women in Fiji are being given an opportunity to develop small businesses in a group condition with loans being made available so that they can support one another to repay the loan to the lender. Two virtues facilitators have become involved with one of these groups and has been training them to use the five strategies of The Virtues Project in their relationship to each other and to their business activities. The strategy to 'set clear boundaries and consequences' has enabled this group to deal with several members who are not fulfilling their obligations to the group. In addition this group is using the virtues to care for each other and support each other in unity to achieve success in their business activities. The result is that this group is meeting the challenges and has accummulated significant funds in its savings account. 

A second group of women have not used the strategies of The Virtues Project and their savings have dwindled to almost nothing. They are asking the leader of the first group what they have done to have been so successful. When this second group request assistance they will receive training in the strategies of The Virtues Project. It has been noted that the first group which has been successful so far need refresher courses to maintain the skills of the five strategies. As with most habits it takes time to work on a skill before it becomes 'second nature' and in this case where there is a group of people involved this work may take some years to accomplish.

While this work is under way other activities in the Virtues Project Fiji continue to progress. An invitation to train the members in one village was recieved and a presentation made to them on the use of The Virtues Project in parenting. 

The Five Strategies of The Virtues Project are being prepared as a 'tool box' containing the 52 virtues cards defining 52 virtues together with a sheet on each strategy to be distributed to communities undergoing training to use the virtues in  every day situations. 

Women at training
Women at training
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Women meeting to be involved as Peacemakers
Women meeting to be involved as Peacemakers

It is now a year since this project was posted and nearly all the funds requested have been received. The puppeteers have been trained and they and their puppets are working with the children as opportunities arise. Abuse of women and children continue to make headlines in Fiji and the government departments - education, health, welfare and police are seeking ways and means to address these problems. It is important to change the attitude of the people and communities.

Virtues Project Fiji is moving into anothe phase of this project. It will train women within the communities to use the 'tools' of The virtues Project, that is the 5 strategies (use the language of virtues, recognise teachable moments, set clear boundairs, honor the spirit and counseling). The women (an men) who work with these tools in the community will be known as PEACEMAKERS. They will engage to puppets in their activities to continue to help children deal with bullying. The first group to meet are from villages around Nadi town where theygather to share their ideas and learn about the Tools to produce peaceful communities. 

You have given us this great gift in supporting the children in Fiji this year. We look to your continues support as we address these wider issues.

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Organization Information

Virtues Project International Association

Location: Calgary, AB - Canada
Website:
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Twitter: @VirtuesProject
Project Leader:
Verona Lucas
Calgary, AB Canada
$25,974 raised of $30,000 goal
 
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