Periodic Newsletter of the Quaker Peace Centre
Vol. 1, no. 2 October 2005
Our Annual General Meeting was held in September and a new governing board was elected. Strategic planning will be held the last week in October, and with the newly elected governing board we look forward to fresh and new ideas for next year. Derek Daniels has been appointed as the Director of the Centre, after serving as Acting Director since last year.
Our main focus will remain with issues of diversity, youth at risk and our interventions in educational institutions. Our work requires funding and we appreciate every contribution big or small.
We look forward to deepening relationships with our funders and supporters and will continue to update you with the progress of our work.
Strategic Priority - Diversity Management / Anti-Bias
Anti-racism training has started at a primary schoool in Delft with 30 students and 15 teachers. This project is an initiative offered in partnership with the Safe Schools project of the Western Cape Education Department. After transcribing and analysing focus group sessions with both Grade 6 students and with teachers at the school, we embarked on a pilot programme which will comprise weekly workshops for students and teachers before the end of the school year.
Anti-racism workshop in a primary school in Delft
The workshops with the students and teachers are parallel but distinct processes: one of the themes that continues to run through our workshops with the children is to get them to work in Xhosa and Afrikaans pairs and teach each other a new item of vocabulary every week. We feel that it is important to create a structured space where trust can be built between Xhosa-speaking and Afrikaans-speaking children. Now on our fourth workshop, we can say that the teachers and students are receiving the programme enthusiastically. Methods used in the project are participants interviewing each other, role plays, learning of different languages through songs and vocabulary, and the use of stories, work sheets and audiovisual materials
Strategic Priority - Promoting Competence at Peace-Building
Positive Discipline at Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT)
In 2005, Positive Discipline became a compulsory component of the professional studies module for the second year Bachelor of Education students. Sixty-one students participated in the course over a period of 3 months. Each student wrote a compulsory assignment which was assessed by the facilitator of the Peace Centre.
In addition, for the first time this year, Positive Discipline was included as a module in the Advanced Curriculum of Education course, a post-graduate course for professional teachers. Students at the CPUT campuses in Wellington, Stellenbosch and Cape Town participated in 3 hours of lectures and were required to complete tasks for evaluation. They were researching reasons why corporal punishment was banned by law, researching the difference between discipline and punishment and creating a discipline plan for their classrooms.
The feedback from the students has been positive. When asked whether the course should be repeated for students in 2006, they replied:
"... Yes, a lot of real life situations were dealt with; when you are forced to think things through and discuss it, you learn where you need to change your attitude and what to work on."
"... Yes, the course made me more aware of the reasons behind the problems and how different methods of discipline are effective."
"... Yes it is an interactive and relaxed course that encourages thoughts, discussion and interesting conversation."
"... Yes, the course deals with exactly what is going on in class ...."
Youth at Risk
The Centre continues to co-ordinate and evaluate a holistic response to young people who have been identified as "displaying behavioural problems". This group of 20 students have been exposed to a range of activities and interventions provided by our partners. These include arts and crafts, sports, movement therapy, life skills and many more. The project will culminate in a weekend camp in November. Formative evaluations have already indicated the need for more involvement from parents and that the students enjoyed the sports very much.
Youth at Risk - Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP)
Two-day refresher AVP workshops were given to prisoners in Pollsmoor and Brandvlei Correctional Facilities who participated in our AVP courses up to Training for Facilitators level last year. One participant said about 'Transforming Power', a core concept of AVP: "... if I would have known this, I would not be here. Anger and violence formed the basics of my upbringing - to tell that will be volumes." Another participant said about the 'Writing a letter to yourself' exercise: "... it was a painful experience because I had to reflect on some nasty acts and events but I felt good after the process. It was a 'self discovery' process. I think it was a start for healing and peace restoration."
The Quaker Peace Centre has taken on the following activities as strategic interventions for creating peace in South Africa.
Nutrition Project - HIV/Aids
One hundred and seventy six women and 6 men were trained in 11 two-day and 2 three-day workshops between July and September this year. Some participants were given land to cultivate vegetables and herbs by municipal authorities and some participants in Mitchell's Plain formed a support group to discuss what they have gained from the workshops. One woman said about the use of herbs workshop: "At home I stay with my 10 year old daughter who suffered from eczema since her birth. In the workshops I learnt about different remedies and their uses. Then I decided to take one of the remedies in order to treat the eczema. After a week I realized that my daughter’s skin became smooth."
The Centre has developed a structured programme for interns. Presently four interns are focussing on research and organisational development. They are included in the project work and participate in process observation in workshops and documentation of projects. The Centre will also form part of the learning programmes of the three universities in the Western Cape - the University of Cape Town, the University of the Western Cape and Stellenbosch University.
The Centre received many requests this year and workshops were offered at the following institutions: National Institute for Crime Prevention and Reintegration of Offenders - Western Cape, Don Bosco Hostel, Parkhurst Primary School, Association for Educational Transformation.
You may use your credit card to give to the work of the Quaker Peace Centre. Go to www.givenow.org and type Cape Town into the search field which will bring you to the Cape Town Quaker Peace Centre Committee.
More about the Quaker Peace Centre
Please visit our website www.quaker.org/capetown
Subscribe and unsubscribe
Please e-mail Martin Struthmann at firstname.lastname@example.org if you wish to subscribe or unsubscribe to this newsletter.