ABOUT THE QUAKER PEACE CENTRE

 
MISSION STATEMENT

Our mission is to work actively toward a society in which the energy generated by conflict is harnessed to engage with social problems in a creative and constructive way.
 

VISION STATEMENT

Our vision is of a society in which people have confidence in their own and others ability to address conflict without resorting to violence.

QPC VALUES

The programmes, projects and processes of QPC are based amongst other things on the following core values:

BRIEF HISTORY AND OVERVIEW

The Quaker Peace Centre arose out of a concern of the Cape Western Monthly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) for the people affected by forced removals and apartheid. Initially the Meeting supported the work of a peace worker until the work expanded and the Center was formed in 1988.

During the years after the unbanning of the ANC and other political parties, the Centre entered into conflict resolution work, peace education in schools, training in vegetable gardening and sewing for families who had no income and a reintegration programme for returning exiles.

After the first democratic elections the Centre provided mediation training in order to enable communities to solve their own conflicts non-violently, it opened a youth programme and realigned its work in schools to the changing environment in the educational system. Ten years after the first democratic elections, the Centre made a new shift to realign its work to the challenges that faced South Africa then. In this process the following priorities for the Centre’s work were identified:

· Strengthen public participation in democratic processes
· Promote individual and organizational competence at peace-building
· Promote the value of diversity and combat prejudice
· Network and support endeavours that promote human security

The Centre mainly works in the Western Cape province and has a well established office in Mowbray in Cape Town. The work of the Centre is overseen by a Board and its accounts are audited by external auditors. The Centre enjoys close contact with community organisations and other non-governmental organisations through work on a grassroots level and its engagement in public affairs for many years.

Many people have contributed to the Centre over this time as staff, board members, volunteers and funders. We have formed lasting and memorable friendships with many of our clients.

PROGRAMMES OF THE QUAKER PEACE CENTRE

Alternatives to Violence Project

AVP is offered in collaboration with schools, places of safety and prisons.  We train AVP facillitators in these institutions who we support to run AVP with theose in their care.

Diversity

The Diversity Programme began in 2005 as a response to the race-related killing of a learner at a high school on the Cape Flats. Eleven years after the advent of democracy, it was clear that racial prejudice was still alive and well in South Africa.

The Diversity programme started off as a pilot programme in a primary school in Delft which targeted both Grade 6 learners and teachers in parallel workshop processes. After the first year it had become clear that children took their cue from the adults around them, and thus it was decided to focus on teachers.

The prograrmme takes as its starting point the hard truth that with our painful history of institutionalised racism, every person growing up in South Africa inherits attitudes about other cultural groups to a greater or lesser extent, and that there is no quick fix for overcoming racial prejudice. I
n 2008 the invaluable experience and knowledge gained from piloting the programme in two primary schools in Delft was put to creative use: recognizing that discussion of racial issues remains a painful and uncomfortable experience for most South Africans, it was decided to write dramas as a way of capturing attention and focusing on issues which otherwise are very hard to talk about – or indeed to think about.

Non-Violent Schools

The Non-Violent Schools Project helps schools to establish peace clubs and peace buddies at schools.  We run a 3-day non-violent schools camp to develop curriculum material on non-violence and we host 1-day schools indaba focussing on the implementation of the material gleaned from the camp and to set up the establishment of peace clubs. We run a 40-hour training of trainers programme in Peace Education for teachers and we develop audio-visual material for teachers to use in their classrooms. We assist peace buddies to produce a bi-annual newsletter and we hold support meetings for peace buddies to monitor their progress.  <> A course on behaviour management is also run at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology for teacher training students. We advocate, and lobby for, the inclusion of positive discipline in the school curriculum at a national level.

Young Women in Leadership

We work with young women and their caregivers in seleceted area with the view of establishing leadership structures that support future programme interventions. Young women go through an afternoon programme dealing with young women's issues and women women's rights. Caregivers are part of a communication and parenting programme. 

HISTORY OF THE COMMUNITIES IN WHICH WE WORK

The Quaker Peace Centre mainly works in the townships in the Cape Town Metropole, a creation of the legacy of apartheid. People were located far away from the city centre and areas of work, and forcibly removed from areas closer to the city to the townships. Under the apartheid regime people of colour were denied the same educational and occupational opportunities as enjoyed by white people, and grants they received were less than those of their white counterparts. Townships experienced intensive violent political conflict during the years of resistance to the apartheid regime.

SOCIO-ECONOMIC CONTEXT IN WHICH WE WORK

The denial of educational and vocational opportunities, together with the distant location of townships to places of work and networks to find work, impoverished the people living there. Unemployment in black townships is around 30 to 40%. The unemployment rate of black women is much higher than rate for the total population

Unemployment has led to the formation of gangs which operate within and outside prisons and recruit teenagers. Gangs inhibit township people in their right of freedom of movement and contribute to a high level of violence. The police is lacking resources to curb gangsterism and to deal effectively with crime.

There is a great shortage of housing in townships with up to 25 people sharing a typical house of under 50 square metres or a shack. There is no privacy for the residents in these dwellings. In informal settlement as much of 50 dwellings may share one tap and toilet.

According to the latest research, 33% of pregnant women are now infected with HIV in South Africa. Poor women often have little say in their reproductive health and men are determining when intercourse shall take place and many of them are refusing to use condoms due to traditional or superstitious beliefs. A superstitious belief that intercourse with a virgin can cure men infected by HIV/Aids puts young women at additional risk. Due to the high unemployment rate and low pay, women are often forced to live with their boyfriends and husbands even if they wish to leave them. Many families have lost one or both parents to Aids. These families are sometimes headed by a child or live on the pension of the grandparents.

Women in townships experience abuse and violence and are often victims of rape. This stems from the violent history of South Africa with its accompanying lack of respect for life and from frustrations on behalf of men with regards to their educational opportunities and unemployment.

Schools are overcrowded and few school feeding schemes are in place.

There is a high level of antagonism between political parties in the Western Cape, which often leads to a failure in the delivery of public goods and services. Complicating matters is that the South African National Civics Organization created a political structure that is working parallel to democratically elected representatives and frequently claims decision-making powers in local affairs.

People living in townships are resourceful to help themselves. Many unemployed people often find a meagre way of survival in the informal economy.

OTHER ACTIVITIES

Campaigns We Support

The Quaker Peace Centre also supports campaigns which work towards a more peaceful world and which share the Centre’s values. 

MATERIALS FOR SALE

The Quaker Peace Centre bumper stickers:

Peace is a group effort
Uxolo luxanduva lomntu wonke
Vrede is samewerking

Books in the Peace Centre Series relating to our work:

Lifeskills - A Collection of Workshops
Peace Heroes
Resolving Conflict Creatively: Workshops for All Ages
The Growth of Peace
Workshops for the Youth on Teenage Sexuality and Relationships

CONTACT

For more information on the work of the Quaker Peace Centre, please contact the Manager or project leaders at the details on the front cover.


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