In early June, Rian Perry of Community Cohesion presented a gender and violence prevention programme to Masiphumelele High’s Grade 10s and 11s. As part of the three-hour session, Rian brought two guest speakers — Vicky and Warren — to share their life’s stories. Both speakers are now in recovery from years of substance abuse and both have extensive histories of criminal involvement, including having been incarcerated at a number of notorious prisons.
Teddy Nyali, MasiSports’ sports co-ordinator, attended the workshop and sent in this report:
Today’s workshop was excellent and informative. We learnt from two rehabilitated criminals who shared their stories with us.
The stories that Warren and Vicky shared were very moving. Many people have similar stories but do not stand tall and share them to assist others. The most important lesson I took away was that our future depends on the choices that we make today.
I do hope that the young teenagers of Masiphumelele will see that being involved in criminal activities is not cool and there is so much we can do to lead better lives.
Importantly, I learnt that we are not our communities or where we come from – it’s about dreaming big to create a better life for ourselves and future generations. I loved the fact that Warren spoke about Gender Based Violence and that I heard real stories from other people on how this monster can be faced. He explained how the young male adults should behave as real men.
The workshop was interactive, and the teenagers loved these activities. We should have more of these workshops and also include parents, all staff and community members.
There is still so much that needs to be done to change our communities. I think the learners had so much to talk about when they got back to their homes, as well as sharing these stories with their friends.
MasiSports introduced Rian Perry to Masiphumelele High School to develop a programme to assist the teenagers. Along with two interns who are doing their Masters’ Degrees in Criminal Justice Social Work, Ryan has been working for 12 weeks with the Grade 8s at Masiphumelele High School, providing them with a sustainable programme to assist the transition from Primary to High School with a focus on bullying, crime and gender equality. Moreover, they provided learners with adjustment strategies and skills to overcome their challenges.
These Life Orientation classes have been remarkably successful and have been helpful interventions to help teenagers find their problem-solving skills, conflict resolution strategies and other life skills. Many thanks Rian Perry and your team.