Living Values Workshops South Africa
A Living Values Workshop being conducted at The British Interbational School, Johannesburg.
"Participating in Living Values workshops has been a profound experience for me. It has not only motivated me to contribute more to our community but has also opened my eyes to the harsh realities of the world. Many individuals live in an idealistic bubble, oblivious to the struggles faced by others, especially children.
These workshops have brought about significant realizations. They acted as a wake-up call, challenging participants to question their existing norms and beliefs. Parents, in particular, recognized the severity of their actions towards their children, often justifying it based on their own upbringing. Many parents admitted to using anger, negative language, and even physical discipline when things didn’t go their way.
What’s truly heartwarming is how these individuals acknowledged their mistakes and embraced the workshops with an open and positive mindset. They showed a genuine willingness to change their approach to parenting and to become better individuals, not just for their children but for themselves as well." ~ Shweta Kapur
"My experience as a Living Values Facilitator, has been quite a fascinating one. I did not know that I could make such a big difference in the lives of the people through this profound knowledge by Living Values. It has changed the way parents look at their children and their personal lives.
"Parents came with a mind full of negativity for their children (and their behavior), they often mistook responsibilities as a burden, and also wanted to discipline their children, but all of that without the values of Love, Respect and Peace. Once they reflected on the Values, they had a realization within , which in turn motivated them to change themselves first, so they can be the right example to their children.
"I personally felt, every single parent went back with a heightened feeling about themselves after every workshop, and the synopsis that we emailed them after each workshop, helped them gain a direction towards positively responding to their children, till the next workshop. They experimented and genuinely practiced the ‘Parenting skills’ and saw a change in the home environment within a few days.
"I am grateful to have been given this chance to facilitate parents and change the way families look at themselves for the betterment of all." ~ Toral Shah
"I benefited tremendously from the skills provided on how to create a values-based environment, active listening and conflict resolution skills." ~ Stage 1 parent
"I have been able to develop a caring attitude towards my children instead of a controlling one." ~ Stage 2 parent
"I have become more friendly towards the children, more understanding, tolerant and humble." ~ Stage 4 parent
"Excellent, innovative and thought provoking workshops! It was a wonderful experience and it will help me be a better parent. I loved that I felt so comfortable in your company to share. I was so at ease." ~ Stage 6 parent
"Thank you for the insights and the time to help and share experiences. It was a beautiful, peaceful session that reminds us of what is truly important." ~ Grade R parent
"I loved every bit of the sessions. Shweta & Toral you are beautiful inside out . Thank you for sharing this wonderful knowledge and making us a 'better parent'." ~ Grade R parent
"Amazing workshops and valuable reminders. Parenting can be a handful sometimes. But with practical tips that I have gained from these workshops, I realised parenting can be a beautiful experience." ~ Grade 5 and 7 parent
Worksheet Available for Values Dialogue at Home
Phil Clothier, a participant from our ALIVE LinkedIn discussion with the Barrett Values Centre, kindly shared the following.
"In our recent national values assessment of South Africa, we produced a simple worksheet for parents and children to encourage values dialogue in the home. This is to help families talk about what is most important for individuals and the whole family and to bring that to life. The worksheet is free and you are welcome to share it in others. If anyone does translations in other languages, please let us know so that we can continue to share. Thank you." ~ Phil and the Barrett Values Centre.
You can download the worksheet from here.
Powerful Stories of Change with High School Students
The amazing three stories that follow involve students from Dipty Naran's former classes at a large high school in a very challenging area of Johannesburg, a city where drug abuse, physical abuse and HIV/AIDS are rampant.
Story One: Not Working for an Escort Agency Anymore
Every Monday, Dipty noted that one of her students, a thirteen year old girl, was either absent from school or, if she attended, she was extremely fatigued. After a time, 'Mary' admitted to her teacher that her Monday absences were due to the fact that she had to earn a living for her family, working weekends in an Escort Agency. Although the girl was despairing, she felt this was the only way she could help her family. Her mother reinforced 'Mary's' viewpoint by encouraging her in this lifestyle.
The teacher approached this situation free of judgment, recognizing that this child had more to offer. She began to change 'Mary's' focus by giving her a new sense of responsibility. 'Mary' already had a strongly developed sense of family responsibility which Dipty used to begin dialoguing with her about other forms of responsibility (such as to the self) and asking for her help in translating the Living Values materials into the local language.
This began to create a shift in 'Mary', over time she realized she could still care for and be responsible for her family without having to sell herself to generate an income. Through the Living Values Program, 'Mary' received the power to say no. Currently, she's a successful Grade 12 student, working part-time for a reputable company as well as continuing to assist Dipty at a level that is very real, sharing her inspiring story with other girls.
When asked, "What have you experienced with this journey?" Mary replied, "I feel that my dignity has been restored."
Story Two: From Hijacking Cars to Being a LVE Peer Educator
'Jeff' was a sixteen year old student who also was frequently absent on Mondays, a day he generally devoted to his favourite pastime when bored, hijacking cars. 'Jeff' felt he needed the adrenaline rush which accompanied this activity, would drive the cars around aimlessly and then park them elsewhere. One day he was caught and arrested and Dipty was called into the police station. As teacher and student chatted, Dipty discovered that 'Jeff' had been hijacking cars on a regular basis for some time. She also recognized that he had a lot of energy but that it wasn't being properly channeled, leading to feelings of boredom.
To provide a constructive outlet for 'Jeff', Dipty asked him to accompany her into dangerous areas of the city, stating that she needed his protection. He identified with this and agreed. These trips into the township of Soweto, exposed 'Jeff' to Living Values as it was introduced to the local children. The aim of the program was to allow the children to develop real self-respect through the values of peace, love and respect (intially). By helping Dipty and hearing the stories about values, 'Jeff' was able to reflect on his own journey. Although he has since graduated from high school, 'Jeff' continues to help Dipty and is part of a group of peer educators who travel to other high schools to talk about the importance of values.
Story Three: From Drugs to Feeling and Acting Valued!
'Rick' was on the verge of being suspended from school for dealing drugs. Dipty shared her thoughts with him, "You are valuable." She recognized that he had a talent for writing and again, asked for his assistance. She gave him the LVEP Educator Training Guide and asked him to read it, to respond to it and share his thoughts in writing. Initially, 'Rick' resisted, feeling he wasn't worthy, since he was doing the wrong stuff (using drugs) how could he write about values? Dipty didn't push him but continued to hold value for the student, indicating that she truly valued his opinion and wished to read his reaction to the Living Values material. This approach proved to be successful, as 'Rick' put an amazing effort into this project, writing in great depth about each value and what he thought. He had battled drug addiction for a long time but really appreciated that someone in his life really loved him and valued him in spite of his issues.
'Rick' recently passed his matriculation with merit, received a scholarship and is now in university.
These three stories beautifully underscore the necessity for ensuring that every child feel LOVED, RESPECTED, UNDERSTOOD, VALUED and SAFE and when approaching them from a place of non-judgment and acceptance, they will flourish and bloom.
LVE in South Africa
During 2008, Living Values Education activities were carried out in the provinces of Gauteng, Kwa - Zulu Natal, North West, Mpumalanga, Western Cape, Eastern Cape, Northern Cape, Limpopo, and Free State. The Living Values Program reached out to at least 7000 educators throughout the whole of South Africa and in Swaziland. Thousands of learners were reached through the media, many of the values topics hosted by the Chatroom. Many more learners were reached through classroom visits and assemblies at schools.
LVE with City Year School
In Gauteng, the following 17 schools received focus during this year:
- Observatory Girls School
- Saxonworld Primary School
- Horizon Primary School
- Milpark Primary School
- Boveti Primary School
- Diodi Primary School
- Fred Clark Primary School
- Dikgabane primary School
- Thembu primary School
- Kwabekilanga High School
- Yeoville community school
- Athlone Girls High School
- Kensington Secondary School
- Coronation Training School
- Ngunghunyane high School
- St John Berchmans
- Olympus Educational Institute
About 3500 educators in Gauteng were introduced to Living Values Education, of which at least 1500 received training.
Living Values Education training was offered to Post graduate students in Education at the University of Johannesburg.
Living Values Street children training for Islamic Care Line.
Teacher training were conducted for educators from many districts.
LV Activities with young adults.
- Teacher Training was held at Ermelo were educators from surrounding rural towns also attended. 150 educators were trained.
- School visits were made in Standerton for further development of educators with LVE.
- Living Values was presented to learners and educators in the greater part of Mpumalanga through programs held by Ndawo Consulting.
In the Northern Province
An introductory workshop was held for educators in Limpopo and various workshops on values were held in Polokwane, Bela - Bela and Hamanskraal in 2008.
Living Values presentations and day workshops were offered this year in:
In Durban, LVE Courses were presented at
- Musgrave Library Course Room, an introduction to Living Values Education Programme was given to all interested Principals, Educators and Care Givers.
32 people attended by Charles, Dalip, Logan and Lalita.
Westham Secondary School, a LVE program was done with educators and learners by Dipty.
Montessorie AGM at the invitation of Wonderkids School by Dipty.
Clairwood Boys Primary School, Lalita presented an LVE training to the principal and staff.
Anjuman Islamic Primary School, Lalita presented LVE to the principal and staff.
Resmount Primary School, Lalita worked with representative educators from Resmount Primary, Durwest Primary, and Durban Heights Primary Schools
LVE Interview with Lalita by C.J. Benjamin on Radio Lotus on the "Youth Crossfire" show.
Global Peace House: Lygia addressed and conducted a workshop with 22 Educators.
The Verulam- Tongaat branch of SADTU invited Lygia to address 500 Educators at their Educator Empowerment Symposium. She shared the stage with Ms Ina Cronje (Guest of Honour) and a number of distinguished speakers.
Charles, Presheila and Lalita met with Dr S.Z. Mbokazi (Deputy Director General of Education) to outline to him the Living Values Education Programme and inform him of our endeavours. We also made some requests to assist us in our work.
Training Session held at the Reservoir Hills Secondary School. 11 Educators attended.
Effingham Primary School, a continuation of workshops started on 19 August were held.
The Foundation Phase Adviser, Ms Savitha Brijlal of the Umlazi District invited 60 Principals and Educators to a LVE workshop on Living Values. Presenters: Logan and Lalita; Sabitha and Presheila handled the administration.
A two day training was hosted by Erica Primary school on12-13 August 2008.
A presentation was held for SADTU in Port Elizabeth. Participants were greatly impacted by the presentation.
Some of the experiences shared by Educators and learners:
"I once again found my purpose in teaching."
"I feel less stressed as an educator and have better discipline in my classroom."
"I felt initially challenged with the Living Values program because I realised that I had to walk my talk - that values are not taught but caught.
A learner said: "Through the Living values program, for the first time in my life I really felt understood."
"I had been emotionally and sexually abused at the age of 11, but through the program I am feeling more safe as a child."
With all efforts been made to offer Living Values Education to educators, learners and parents in all the provinces in South Africa, the program has received the support of the National Department of Education.
During 2008, the Living Values Program also received coverage on National Television where it addressed the role of values in dealing with issues such as teenage pregnancies and other social issues
With Living Values Education being in its 6th year in South Africa, a country into whose fabric Ubuntu is naturally woven, it is inevitable that educators acquainted with LVEP would come to realise the hand-glove relationship of these two systems.
The LVEP team which is now operating under the auspices of the recently formed LIVASA (Living Values Association of South Africa) hence organised an Ubuntu-Living Values conference in Cape Town in September to start off the process of establishing how Ubuntu which is values based living dating back to pre-literate, pre-industrial and pre-scientific times can be given structure within the context of education by LVEP. The conference was ceremoniously opened by Dr Koka, Director of the Karaites Institute of Afrikology. This event was an opportunity for meaningful discussions and sharing of experiences on Ubuntu.
This conference will be followed up by roundtable discussions, workshops and story-telling sessions in all parts of the country to ensure the inclusion and participation of all who have a role to play.
Ubuntu is the fundamental philosophy of African thought and it embodies an insight that is universal. It incorporates the concept that the human race is a family, that we have been created for interdependence... there is room for everyone, for every culture, race, langauge, point of view. It embraces hospitality, respect, generosity, compassion, gentleness, magnanimity, forgiveness and reconciliation. It is the essence of humanity. It is Ubuntu that enabled Nelson Mandela , our former President and the many victims of the atrocities of Apartheid to have mercy on their tormentors; it is Ubuntu that gave rise to the amazing scenes of forgiveness that were witnessed at the Truth and Reconciliation Commission hearings.
A poet, Thembile Ka Pepeteka who attended the conference was so inspired by the vision of a marriage between Ubuntu and LVEP that he wrote the following poem in the early hours of one morning during the conference: (Kleinmond is the place in Cape Town where the conference was held; "klein" means small ; "Punt" is the place in Africa considered to be the origin of Ubuntu; "ntate" is a term of respect and "Ntu" means God).
Was it that klein
Like a matchstick light
In the moonlight night?
Or a tiny full stop
On the foot of the hill
That cause a flop
On the beginning of the stream
O Kleinmond blues.
Did we pour our hopes
Into a leaking calabash
To keep our void?
Or planted our seed
On virgin ground
To feed minds in diasporas,
Who need shepherds and fertilizers
To grow in peace
And give fruits?
Did we leave the comfort
Of our homes in vain
Chilly, Chilly moonlight
Piercing through the grass
Of trembling branches
Of firm trees,
Heralding the dawn
Of eternal stream
That come from punt
Via the valley of
Where ntate Koka
Poured libation to plead
With Ntu to unite
Living values of love
And the pinnacle of hope: Ubuntu
Oh living blues
Number of Sites Using Living Values Education
Total Number of sites 25
Which include pre-primary, primary and senior secondary schools.
A young adult says: "Values education has made an awesome impact in my life; it has changed me in many ways and has most certainly built my character. Though I always heard about values and knew that they were there, I didn't really know how to build my character using values. I did not know that there was any benefit in having values in yourself....."
Educators using LVEP invariably speak of and report on the all-round improvement in their students ' improvement in concentration, social, personal and writing skills; no scribbling on desks, library books and walls; no breaking of toys in pre-schools. In addition to this, values education has also proved to have a powerfully positive effect on ingrained negative habits:
"I discovered that I had a kleptomaniac in my Grade 3 class and didn't think that it was at all possible to help change him. When we did the value on honesty he played the part of the honest miner in a play that we were performing. He afterwards wrote to me saying that he was going to try not to steal any more."
Teachers themselves always personally benefit from the LVEP training sessions:
"Values education gives the key to learning the greater awareness necessary for good co-operative living, self awareness and appreciation."
"Very enlightening - my mind has opened up to my own values and I am also happy I was able to reflect - I feel refreshed!"
"I now know that without values even the most advanced societies will fall."
"I realised how important values are to one and how they impact on one's life."
"It has changed my life and my teaching."
A report from a pre-primary school:
Christel Joseph and Yvette Chetty, a teacher and the principal at the Kid-eo Pre-Primary School in Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa report the following:
"We have a school of 21 pupils from 3 to 6 years old. We have implemented Living Values: An Educational Program as part of our daily curriculum since February 2000. By August of 2000 we completed the units on peace, respect, love, honesty, responsibility and happiness. We are currently working on cooperation. I would like to share some of our experiences with you.
The children seem to be working with a more loving, peaceful temperament;
There has been a noticeable decrease in broken and damaged equipment and toys;
The program enhances creativity and imagination;
There is a tremendous boost in self-confidence and general cooperation amongst the children;
A distinct increase in the language skills and vocabulary has been observed;
"Time out" is almost non-existent;
Given the usual short attention span of young children, we are continually astonished that the children work enthusiastically on projects and enjoy their Values lessons without boredom setting in; and
The children are steadily developing a capability for reasoning and a sense of caring for themselves and others.
As one of our Living Values lessons we visited the SOS Children Village, a home for orphans. Our Kid-eo kids sang songs and recited poems on the values that they had already learned and demonstrated the values of love by hugging each child from the SOS Children Village. We are happy to report that the SOS Children Village Pre-Primary School was suitably impressed and they too have now implemented LVEP as part of their curriculum.
We, as teachers, have been transformed as well. We have become more creative and patient and enjoy our work a lot more. We look forward to the continued growth and development of our pupils as we progress through the year.