Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Workshop to encourage young mothers in Mogale City, Johannesburg, South Africa

On the 12th of May 2017 MUYO (Making Us Youth Organisation) organised a workshop for a group of 12 mothers from Swaneville in Mogale city, west of Johannesburg. Initiatives of Change (IofC) was invited to do a presentation on Mirror Reflection and Values. The workshop was held at the Kagiso Municipality building.

During the first session as we explored Mirror Reflection.  Participants were asked “what do they use a mirror for?” A few of the ladies in the room mentioned that they use it to put on makeup and see how beautiful they are. Cleo Mohlaodi who was co-facilitating this session with Lucel Snyers went on to say there's an internal mirror in every one of us which is our conscience. “If you don't check where you are, you will not know where you are going,” she said, emphasising that people should have a pen and a notepad or a diary where they can always check where they are in life and note thoughts they receive.

In the beginning, participants found the concept of reflection difficult to grasp but as time and activities were shared they understood what reflection is. One of the participants responded, 'People assume what kind of a person one is by looking at how one behaves and reacts. However, the facilitator defined mirror reflection as ‘a mixture of one's story and inner encouragement to share one's story. With this I am confident to live my life as the internal mirror shows and not as the eternal mirror wants.’

The second session was on Values. Respect, love and honesty were the values most frequently mentioned by the participants. The facilitator used a piece of string to explore these values. She gave an instruction to throw the string around the room and each person had to mention their most important value. At the end of this exercise there were different reflections of what the string meant for each one – some saw it as a way to connect, others saw it as developing a network.

Lucel continued with the session asking the participants a number of questions on values. One of the questions asked was ‘Do we wear masks?’  Thando replied by saying, “I don’t want people to see what I am up to and what I am thinking about, because when people know they use that against me.” At the end the participants realised that; ‘We see the world as we are, not as it is.’  Going forward a new platform of thinking and trust building was developed.

Lucel concluded with her life story on how she wore a mask until she met Initiatives of Change where she was given an opportunity to share her story. After sharing her story she realised that she had been carrying a burden of abuse, yet hiding it by smiling. After that day she had to take decisions that she never thought she could take. She decided to help other women speak out and also come out of the abusive situation. At the end of the session a new sense of community was built and values gained that can be shared with their children and families.

Some of the participant’s comments were:

  • “My first step is to go out and reach my goals that I thought were impossible after having a child.”
  • “I have learnt a lot on how to build myself and how to take off my mask.”
  • “I was motivated by the importance of values - knowing them and also teaching my children.”

MUYO expressed that they would like to continue working with us because IofC workshops have quality and depth in helping people change for the better.

Thank you Initiatives of Change South Africa, Edmee Botteron as well as individuals from Elim, Limpopo Province, who donated to the spread of the work of Initiatives of Change.

Report by Lucel Snyers and Karabo Radebe