the net of people deeply affected by political violence
Youth Development Programme
Tuesday 5 August 2008
South Africa is slowly healing the wounds of a divided past with deep-rooted inequalities, but many still face great hardships. While peacekeeping efforts are initiated in many parts of the world, there is also an increasing culture of violence. IHOM offers youth programmes to develop their understanding of peace and human rights, in the light of conflicts and human rights abuses that have occurred in the past and are still perpetrated in many parts of the world.
The aim of IHOM’s Youth development project is to assist young South Africans to learn from and about South Africa’s past, to:
* Raise the awareness of young South Africans of their country?s past of social and political segregation and oppression, and sensitize them to the impact that this has had on people.
* Improve the knowledge and understanding of young South Africans of the human rights abuses that occurred in the apartheid years and the heroism of those who opposed it in order to bring about a democratic and peaceful society
* Motivate young South Africans to actively participate in shaping a society that upholds human rights, justice and equality for all, irrespective of race, culture, ethnic group, or religion.
1. “Facing our Past, Facing Ourselves” workshops
Short workshops are run during school hours – usually four hours over two days. Saturday workshops are also offered for non-school groups or school groups who cannot accommodate the workshops during school hours.
The workshops aim to give young South Africans a broader picture of the apartheid experiences of different communities. In this way they become aware of the complexity of the struggle against apartheid, that it was not only about two different races in opposition, but about individuals making different choices. Through reflecting on choices people made in the past, participants become aware of the importance of choice and the consequences of choices. The lessons learned from the past are used as a starting point to discuss and promote human rights.
The workshops make use of reading materials, worksheets and a video to engage participants. The video, entitled “Any child is my child”, explores the experiences of young people during the apartheid years.
2. Intensive “Facing our Past, Facing Ourselves” workshops
During 2006 we will be piloting an intensive version of the above workshop format - offered over five sessions of an hour each:
1. Facing the past ? video, learner reactions to video, task for learners ? investigating the past through interviews, research.
2. Choices, values from the past and human rights ? feedback from research
3. Dramatic presentation from South Africa?s past ? promoting a human rights culture
4. Choosing to participate in bringing about a democratic and peaceful society? stories
5. Evaluation ? identify whether the learners have gained something or have changed attitudes and behaviours. The new workshop format will be piloted at 6 schools. Activities will be linked to the following Grade 9 learning outcomes as specified in the school curriculum:
* Historical enquiry
* Historical knowledge and understanding
* Historical interpretation
3. The Youth Peace Academy collaboration
The Youth Peace Academy (YPA) is a strategic partnership between youth organisations that share similar visions. The YPA seeks to promote the development of communities united to advance peace work and activism. It is concerned with transforming social conditions and mobilising youth to play an active part in this process. The Institute for Healing of Memories Youth Development Project partners with the following organisations to offer this program:
* Coalition for Peace in Africa (COPA – anti-violence, peaceful alternatives), and
* Creative Education for Youth at Risk (CRED – using the arts to guide youth towards positive choices).
The program runs over five days, during school holidays, and is structured into various workshops to which each organisation brings its own particular focus and methodology.
* The video was intense. I learned that I need to make a difference and not wait to for someone else to make a change and that as young people we have our own future in our hands.
* We must work hard to accept everyone and not judge anyone by their skin colour but by who they are.
* I realised that as the youth we are the future of South Africa so we need to talk about what happened and think of what we can do to not repeat the past (Apartheid).
* It reminded me of our role as youth to take responsibility for our ‘baby’ democracy by taking action not merely complaining.
* The workshop was eye opening and incredibly thought provoking. I learnt that we need correct and unbiased knowledge of apartheid and its effects and that youth are the future therefore our role is to create understanding and acceptance.
* I learned that youth should try to get along with everyone regardless of skin colour. We must also accept other cultures and celebrate our differences.
* I particularly enjoyed the small group discussions. I did not know much about apartheid before attending the workshop, as my parents do not talk about it.
* I learned that we should respect other people’s opinions and feelings and I also got an opportunity to listen to different points of view about our past.
* I realised that we cannot change the past but we can all work together to make South Africa a better place.
* It was nice to learn about our past and be able to express our feelings.
Would you like to work voluntarily with young people and contribute to a greater understanding in learning from and about South Africa?s past? We are looking for volunteers of any age or background, who:
* are able to work in a team
* are able to work with young people, and who
* believe all people are
a) spiritual beings of infinite worth
b) share responsibility for the past and are therefore responsible for dealing with it
c) should face history and face themselves.
The reward is experience, being part of shaping the future, personal satisfaction and development.