Saturday, July 20, 2019

Learning to appreciate life’s turmoil Creators of Peace Vlakfontein, Lenasia

‘At the end of every dark tunnel, there is a light.’ This statement describes the overall outcome from a Peace Circle (PC) with a sixteen men and fifty one women - community builders, volunteers and community members of the area of Vlakfontein, south west of Johannesburg. This took place from the 23rd to 25th April with the assistance of the City of Johannesburg Coordinator, Nthabiseng Setloboko.

Formerly a farm, Vlakfontein is now a residential area with daily challenges of abuse, suicides, gangsterism, hate, anger and children being orphaned. 

The group’s expectations included: to find healing from past traumas; to lead a positive and better lifestyle; have ‘self-forgiveness’ and acceptance as well as forgiveness for the perpetrators who have caused their pain; develop better communication skills; deal with anger and move forward in life and reach their dreamt-of goals. Ninety percent of the young men and women have gone through severe traumas.

As the first day concluded, the group already felt that they had gained worthwhile skills. They had learnt how to accept life’s challenges and how to communicate better in order to build better friendships and strengthen family bonds. They also discovered the importance of loving oneself and not to wait on the outside world to love them. The most inspiring thing that one of the participants shared was that she had an opportunity to do self-exploration which was something she experienced for the first time.

At the end, the group started their new journeys of becoming Peace Community builders, uplifted, revived and refocused on their future goals. The first practical steps that the group took was to seek professional assistance to allow the healing process to actually take place. Some of them are excited to spread the work of Creators of Peace (CoP) within their community.

Nico, a leader of the youth desk at the University of South Africa (Unisa) shared that he desires students from Unisa to go through a PC process because they struggle so much with their studies due to the trauma they have been through. He is taking it upon himself to start a conversation with the management of Unisa regarding the CoP programme.

Another participant shared, “I have never before opened up about my attempts to kill myself and my disabled son because I felt God had punished me by giving me a disabled son.  However, I am now going to love my child even more as from today.”

The CoP team will have a follow-up time with the group on May 10th looking also at assistance with professional referral for those who have expressed the need.

An expression of gratitude to Initiatives of Change, Edmee Botteron, Aulicious Food and Decor and City of Johannesburg for the love, care, trust and support as the team journey around the different parts of Johannesburg, bringing trust building, hope and restoration to friends, family and community members.

Report by Lucel Syners