Thursday, March 15, 2018

Living the inner mission, creating a re-energised environment - Creators of Peace at Ennerdale, Johannesburg

The Creators of Peace team were invited to facilitate a Peace Circle at Ladies of Hope, an NGO at Ennerdale, South West of Johannesburg. The three days from 28th February to the 2nd March 2018 brought together 11 women and 3 men aged between 19yrs and 54yrs.  Some have served as volunteers and some are permanent and founding members of the Organisation. The outcome sought was to create a space to debrief and build a team.

Ennerdale is a developing community made up of all races in South Africa but the dominating culture is of the Coloured (mixed race) community. This community is challenged by abuse, drugs, unemployment and violence. This led to the establishment of Ladies of Hope, a hospice for cancer, , chronically ill patients and a substance abuse rehabilitation centre, offering services such as home base care for elderly people, food gardening, and skills development for the youth to volunteer and shape their lives. There are currently 24 volunteers   

The Circle began with a deep need to understand what peace is.  ‘Why must we have it (peace) as the world continually serves me pain,’ shared a participant. This came out strongly during the session 'Circles of Concerns', highlighting how one concern, ‘gossip,’ is a common and loved culture that has killed the humaneness and peace of the community as well as at the work place. The group shared traits such as anger, short-temper and the need to change and keen to find inner peace as they are all from a strong religious background.

On the second day Selinah, one of the participants, mentioned that she had learned how on a daily basis a person can be part of destroying the peace in the lives of other people through the tongue. Samantha expressed, “I have learned through the ‘What is Peace Anyway?' session that we understand things differently in life.’

As the gathering points gave time for introspection, deeper understanding of self, and understanding the process of the Peace Circle, Mildred commented, ‘I have learned not to be too hard on myself and I need to spend more time reflecting to get new directions in my life.’  Marlon expressed that the time has directed him on how to control his anger. however he is still doing some soul searching to find the real reasons why he is feeling this way.

At the end of the three days together, Ladies of Hope had a re-energised group of heart warming smiles and peace ambassadors.  Kyle shared, ‘During this time I have seen the importance of self acceptance and will be focusing more on myself and not what people think and say about me.”  By the end of the Peace Circle the group had begun to understand one another, and become willing to care and respect each other irrespective of the race, age, gender, role at the workplace.

Cleo Mohloadi, co-facilitator, write, “It was a learning space for me to unpack the unknown with the group and believe that the light inside us will give us the hope and answers we are searching for. Seeing the inner maturity of the group come out through means of support, role modelling and care for each other as well as the organisation vision and mission, was a moving sight. I appreciated the sharing of some decisions to let go of the internal barriers such as jealousy, gossip, lack of confidence, past experiences, respecting the roles and their differences in the organisation and understanding that peace inside oneself is a comfort to the next person,”

Some of the next steps were:  Accepting and appreciating self more. Some will undertake building open and honest relationships with family members and take the initiative to forgive. At the workplace they will do their best together to seek funding and work together to make sure that Ladies of Hope doesn’t cease to exist because it’s a place they all can call a home of love.

At the beginning of April we will be hosting a second Peace Circle for the other half of the staff and a follow up workshop at the beginning of May.

Reported by: Lucel Snyers and Cleo Mohlaodi