Friday, July 26, 2019

Recharging hope for better future, Creators of Peace in Inner City, Cleveland, Johannesburg


Christopher Reeve, well known actor who was paralysed in a horse-riding accident said, 'Once you choose hope anything is possible.’ From 5 - 7 June, Creators of Peace delivered a Peace Circle on “Inner Healing” to 47 women in the central business district of Cleveland, in Johannesburg. These women began a journey towards inner healing in their lives.


The group had expectations to be equipped to get jobs, develop self-esteem, control anger and be able to forgive their past (any idea what specific things in the past) and move on. They also expected to heal from the past hurts, express their feelings and communicate well with other people. One of the participants mentioned that she made a decision to have children so that she could get “grant money” to enable herself to go back to school. She said she realized that she had wasted her time and she needed to love herself more. She also realized that she needs to be a better parent to her children while she’s being a better friend to herself. She said she values herself more and realizes that she is not her past but can learn from her past.


Most participants wanted to be better communicators, not only with other people but with themselves as well. They also wanted to be better at resolving conflicts in their lives and mostly in the family. One participant even mentioned that it had always been difficult to confront elders in the family when they are wrong.  There is a conflict as an African child because you are taught that as a child you do not confront an elderly person.  Now she learned a lot from the conflict resolution model we used. Mantwa Mabe, a facilitator, mentioned that often we don't speak up about the impact that the conflict is having on us.  That blocks the opening up of a space for the other party to realize the effect of their actions.


Thembeka, one of the participants said “I have always told myself that I forgave my aunt and yet I continue to hate her.”. She mentioned that during “The Power of Forgiveness” session while exploring the benefits of forgiveness she said that she is now aware that forgiveness needs to bring her peace and not hate.


Most participants experienced barriers to forgiveness because they were still waiting for an apology from those that have hurt them.  That lead them to have hatred, anger, jealousy and low self-esteem. Another young woman mentioned that she had lost her confidence due to lack of support from her family and couldn’t finish her studies. However, she is grateful for the programme as she is now going to start her life afresh with or without the family. All participants greatly appreciated the Peace Circle, especially for the communication skills they received during the workshop.


At the end of three days, these young women took practical steps to forgive, deal with their anger and release grudges. Some said that they see the importance of listening to others as they can save lives by just listening. A follow up session will be conducted on the 19th June 2019.


Reported by Cleo Mohlaodi