Schools: The solution to violence and other problems lies within people themselves
Almost every week, we read about something violent that has happened in a school somewhere in South Africa.
Sometimes it is serious interpersonal violence, like the case of a learner who brings a gun to school and shoots a fellow learner, because of an argument over a girlfriend. Sometimes it is bullying, or the subtler, but equally destructive violence of the teacher who uses corporal punishment against learners (which is prohibited in our constitution) because s/he believes s/he has no alternative way of dealing with serious disciplinary problems. Sometimes it is the physical and psychological violence of the teacher who has an affair with one of his learners. And sometimes it is the mob violence of learners under the influence of drugs and alcohol, who attack a teacher with whom they are angry.
Phaphama Initiatives workshops, based on the Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP) and Help Increase the Peace Project (HIPP) methodologies, are designed to help schools create a culture of effective teaching and learning. AVP and HIPP do not claim to have perfect, readymade answers to all these problems. Instead, the programmes support the belief that the solution to violence and other problems lies within people themselves. The idea is that even though people might sometimes commit violent acts, deep within everyone is a desire to a lead peaceful, happy, and productive life. Within them too, lies the power to achieve this. Based on this principle, AVP (for 15-year olds to adults) and HIPP (12 – 14 year olds) processes create safe forums where people in schools can begin to talk and listen to each other honestly, openly and constructively. This process opens a spring of creativity that offers transformation opportunities
In short, AVP and HIPP help build healthy, cooperative, achievement-oriented school communities.
For an extensive report about our workshop programme with Aha Thuto School in Orange Farm, Gauteng, please click on the link at the bottem of this page.