IAHV SA focused their efforts on a juvenile rehabilitation project this week with 21 young offenders in maximum security. The writing on the wall of the correctional facility, summed the reason we volunteered to serve time – “Crime is a social problem”.
In South Africa, hundreds of juveniles have already been incarcerated. If this trend is not arrested, South Africans will continue to live in fear. The Prison Program provides tools and techniques to help offenders to transform, and thus effectively re-integrate into society, with less likelihood of going back to crime.
The key to the program is a unique breathing technique. “I never knew that with just breathing I could relax and be more calm. I always thought that stress was just mental and nothing related to breathing. I’ve also noticed that I would actually need these sessions for the rest of my life in order to be a better person from now onwards”, shared one of the offenders after completing the program.
The founder of the technique has led an unprecedented global movement for peace. At the recent World Summit on Countering Violence and Extremism, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar said ‘Unfortunately, today, [through] role models and movies, heroism has got itself attached to aggression. In today’s society we see two different types of issues. One is aggression and another is depression. Aggression is not a sign of strength. Aggression indicates one’s innate weakness.’
Neither at school, nor at home, has anyone taught us to deal with our emotions. This type of education is vital to give people access to inner peace, making outer peace a reality. It includes tools and techniques to develop emotional intelligence to cope with daily stresses in today’s challenging times.
“Healing offenders is only one leg of the journey. Our commitment to breaking the cycle of violence remains steadfast. The IAHV and its sister organisation the Art of Living strives to make available and facilitate programs designed to heal the remaining sectors of society including the victims, families of the offenders and the members at correctional facilities. It is only through a holistic solution that the cycle of violence can be addressed”, said Prison Program Coordinator, Veron Sirkissoon.
The writing on the wall as we left the facility on the 5th day, filled me with hope that our efforts to teach the path of love are not in vain… ‘Welcome to a place of new beginnings’
*Prison Program facilitated by Neeraj Kalan & Dharmisha Cvetkovic. Contact – firstname.lastname@example.org