This pillar has been the most exciting for us this year – in more ways than one. People can
complete many life orientation courses in their lifetime but one thing remains: we are all born with personalities
that can't be changed but we all have characters that we can mould. A change has to come from within ourselves to
make a difference to our
lifestyles and the choices we make.
Sibusisiwe joined hands with an organisation called Character
Transformation. This programme is accredited by the Josephson Institute in America - Pat Kumalo and Sally do Nascimento both completed the facilitator's course. One of our first projects was launching this program with Fair Cape farms. Again, our ever dependable gem and dear colleague, Pat Kumalo trained over 100 Xhosa workers who benefited from this life changing course. This value-based programme teaches people about the six universal Pillars of Good Character. Character Transformation seeks to morally regenerate South Africans by instilling these values in citizen's daily lives. The feedback from the workers was heart warming and encouraging to say the least and farm managers have been impressed with the change they have seen in their staff.
On the 8th April, 2011 Sibusisiwe attended the last session of the first Character Transformation workshop at Pollsmoor Prison. WOW! A realization dawned on us: can we not do anything for these people before they get to this point of their lives? Some of the inmates said that they wished they had been exposed to this type of teaching earlier in their lives – it would have made a difference in the paths they chose to take in life. We did some research and according to the CSVR found that a person's decision to commit crime is based on a range of complex and intersecting social, personal and environmental factors. For young people, the boundary between being a victim and a perpetrator is often blurred – young criminals have themselves, often being exposed to high levels of victimisation and may live under severely adverse social and environmental conditions. It is these social and environmental causes of crime that need to be identified and tackled if youth crime is to be successfully reduced.
We would love to reach more schools with this initiative but unless sponsored by the Department of Education, very few schools can afford additional programmes. Sadly this remain one of our challenges : many of our schools can barely afford to pay their teachers, let alone take on an additional financial burden.
Our intention is that we continue to make an impact at our local prisons especially at the juvenile centres and those inmates awaiting parole.