Organization: Religions for Peace - WCRP

Please explain how you have implemented the Learning to Live Together Programme, including the adaptation of its conceptual framework, approach, learning process, methodologies and activities. (600 words)

In 2012 at the GNRC 4th forum in Tanzania, we got copies of the Learning To Live together (LTLT) manual and CD. Our programme for youth and children is implemented in two different setting (1) youth peace forum (YPF) (2) Mavela Ikhaya children’s forum (MICF). Once back home we used the manual in our (1) youth peace forum, which we hold 4 time a year with formal school learners. The learners come from different schools, private, religious, co-ed, girls only, boys only, model c, Government, urban and district schools. The diversity is for explanation purposes, race, gender, religion, class, religious ethos, rich, poor learners. (2) Mavela ikhaya children’s forum in informal rural community setting held 4 to 6 time a year. This is very children focused. In 2014 two of us from South Africa were trained in Nairobi, Kenya. Then in 2017 I was trained as a train the trainer in France. We use the LTLT manual in our youth and children programme adapting it to our own local situation, e.g. we have an official human rights day 21 March, Youth Day 16 June, an etc. and in that term we use the module 1 understanding self and others, “road to understanding self and other” linking it to our basic needs as human beings and the beauty of diversity. With the children in the rural community setting, we us “creating caring communities. The children are all Christians and all speak the same language, Zulu. The schools that we work with have a youth forum or youth club at their school, the work from the YPF is shared with the school club and at times at assembly. We visit the school on a regular basis and the principal and life orientation educators are making that space for the learners. South Africa is a very religious country, with a global faith community of the African traditional religion, Bahia, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Islam, Jewish, traditional Christian, living harmoniously together. We worked together during apartheid and continue to address the many challenges that we face together. Spirituality, values, ethics, morals are household terns with us and our communities. We give young people and children the space to transform themselves and begin to understand the other. There is space for interfaith and intercultural participation. Most of all, space is provided for those who don’t feel like participating. We have powerpoint presentation with plenary discussion with questions and comments, them collective participation in groups. The outcome of report back is amazingly meaningful, that within a short period of time the groups produce such amazing group feedback, in the form of role play presentation. Some of the schools use the Youth Peace Forum event as and Life Orientation examination. We love the way young people adapt to group work. Immediately we share with schools photos of their learners at work.

Explain how the implemented program has been sensitive to the local context. (400 words)

In our situation, we are fortunate that we did not experience sensitivity. We have been hosting the Youth Peace Forum and Mavela Ikhaya Children’s Forum for many years prior to the implementation of the “Learning To Live Together” manual. Our work was similar in that we “created caring communities” and we listened to “the other voice”, and many other way of doing our work with young people and children. In South Africa, with global recognisation of our change without violence from apartheid to democracy, we are being appreciated. We are doing everything we can to address the challenges that we face, on racism, sexism, xenophobia, gender, etc. We are all the time looking at ways to build social cohesion within our workplace. We want to make the changes in the lives of our young people and children, so we take great strides and make bold efforts to this end. We replace challenge to sensitivity, we pray and wish that every child can be in a situation, where he or she is given the space and tools to be empowered. The challenges in a youth or child life are too many, we try our level best to give them an alternative. We begin our events with an Interfaith prayer or a minute of silent. We get the youth and children offering these prayers. We are sensitive to the way we focus and facilitate our events, taking care of suitable venue space, dietary requirements – so we can be recognized for what we stand for.

How has the implemented program fostered interfaith and/or intercultural learning among participating children and young people? (400 words)

As an Interfaith organization, Religions for Peace, hosting the Youth Peace Forum and the Mavela Ikhaya Children’s Forum, and being religious based, with a strong religious ethos of working. Principled in our approach and modeling the interfaith harmony is our greatest strength. We begin all our events with a prayer, interfaith prayer done by each religion, universal prayer, or observing a minute of silence. All our events are interfaith. The beauty is that almost all our scriptures advocate harmony and peaceful co-existence – this brings meaning to our work. We have the great big opportunity to address our achievements and also work on the many challenges that we face as a community. The challenge is not just faced by a particular faith, the challenge is experienced by all faith communities The Muslim breaking of the fast – Iftaar, is becoming a big interfaith and intercultural event, communities are invited to an Iftaar. One of our partner organization the Denis Hurley Centre, host an annual Iftaar, and they encourages the community to fast on that day of the invite, fast according to the way Muslims fast. Get up before dawn, eat breakfast and stay without food and drink – ( many call it a dry fast) till sunset. These event are hosted by non Musilim organisations, institutes and colleagues, another example the international yoga day. At our youth and children’s programme, we get volunteers from our workshop to offer prayer at the beginning of our event. The youth and children are very happy to offer the prayer. This is done in the language that they prefer. Interfaith and intercultural events are our everyday events, for example the recent “refugee day”, we observed and refugees come from all faith and religious as well as non religious background.

How has the Learning to Live Together Programme influenced a positive transformation in you, in a personal and professional level. (400 words)

Being a human rights peace activist and born in apartheid South Africa, being sensitive to the needs of the less fortunate became a major part of my consciousness. I began from a very early age “acting as a nurse”, which, I was very passionate about. We lived in segregation and only engaged with one race group. I was supported by my mum and dad and family and we began to defy the order of the country, apartheid. Alhumdullah, All Praise is Due to Almighty Allah (God), we have democracy today. Our democracy has lots of challenges, from the past as well as new challenges The Holy Qur’an and Hadith – the Teachings of Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) are my driving force. There many verses of the Holy Qur’an and Hadith that keep me in check and balance on my everyday life and actions. Here I quote tow verses that play an important part of my interfaith and intercultural actions. 1) Verse of the Holy Qur’an – Most Honored in the Sight of Allah/ Reverence Your Guardian-Lord: Qur’an 49:13 Surah Al-Hujurat (The Inner Apartments) “O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female and made you into nations and tribes that ye may know each other (not that ye may despise each other). Verily the most honored of you in the sight of Allah is (he who is) the most righteous of you. And Allah has full knowledge and is well acquainted (with all things)”.encourages me to work for interfaith and intercultural harmony. 2). And the other verse of the Holy Qur’an: Chapter (3) Surah Al Imran (The Family of Imrān) “And let there be [arising] from you a nation inviting to [all that is] good, enjoining what is right and forbidding what is wrong, and those will be the successful. I have a crafted identity, Interfaith – although I dress with hijab, many in my country see me as an interfaith person. What we as individuals and organisations did in the past was an extension of Learning To Live Together. Our programmes was based on Interfaith Harmony, Creating Caring Communities, Listening to the Other voices, observing Anti Racism Week, Human Rights Month, Youth Day/Month, Madiba Day, observing all the international days, etc The Learning To Live Together manual can be adaptable to any situation, children, youth, adults. Pick a kiosk and run a workshop

Please explain how you exemplify a strong role-model of the principles of Learning to Live Together. (400 words)

It is important, in what we do as an organization we should model it on two levels as individuals and as a organization. What we teach is what we live. The Learning To Live Together should be our mission, in our every moment of life, not crafted for a set of time or day of the workshop. This must be shown in the way we engage with those we know and those we do not know, and there should be no difference in this approach. First and foremost we are human beings with the same needs and aspirations, wanting good in everything we do and to be recognized for it. This can be shared as best practices, which is wholesome and all embracing. If we put our heart and soul in our work, we will reach great heights and we hope it puts a big smile on the faces of those who we engage with. We see lots of these buzz words role model and principle learning on social media, share widely, and at times you get poste a quote from your neighbor, and then receive that same quote from a friend from England, or India. The quotes include treat others with respect and you receive the same. And many saying on respect, responsibility, empathy and reconciliation, and love, care, compassion, peace, harmony, and the list goes on and on and on. The pleasure of this volunteer work is to earn rewards of fulfillment. And being in this for the last 25 years has earned us this status. Planning, designing events and programme in a safe and caring space for young adults, youth and children.

Please provide further information on how you initiated, implemented and sustained the programs based on the LTLT, and how you have mobilized necessary support from stakeholders. (600 words)

We have noted than there are many organisation’s, NGO’s, CBO’s doing similar work with children, for children. We partners with organisations with similar aims and objectives and with organisation’s who are resourced – with human and material resources. This help cut the cost of an event. When working with and hosting children, and for their pleasure we have to have refreshments, fun stuff, games and learning to live together in the activities that we engage. We have been doing this work for over 25 years, which is great, that means we have committed (audience) – learners from formal schools. With our community outreach work we are blessed that we also have committed (audience) the children of the community. We have done inter and intra exchange of space, where we bring rural children to urban workshop/ play and do the same with urban youth are taken to rural workshop. We will this year do some community workshop on Learning To Live Together in community spaces. There is a great need for Learning To Live Together. We work with the KwaZulu-Natal Inter Religious Youth Council, World Assembly of Muslim Youth and the Bahai Youth – and the above organisations intern work with other faith youth. Our programme is growing from strength to strength and our volunteers are able to implement the values of respect, empathy, responsibility and reconciliation. We will increase our output in the coming months and next year. It is a great big positive that we are asked by young adults, who are serving their community to join them and help implement the Learning To Live Together. In these to plan workshops, we are given most resources, venue/space, audience/participants, for 4 to 6 hours workshop. This community workshop will take the same form of our Youth Peace Forum, and implemented with the young of the community. It will add a new dimension of the work that the community was doing, to changing it to Learning To Live Together. We have a pleasantly lovely team of young people from the major faith of Durban, to be part of this team, sharing responsibility. This gives us more ability to run many more of these Learning To Live Together workshop, when we are invited.
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