Mimi Fourie Hof (Vaal Region) – Library

The official opening of the Mimi Fourie Hof – IAHV community library took place on the 12th October 2018 at the Mimi Fourie Hof Building, 27 Market Avenue, Vereeniging.

The vision of Ms. Anita Hanekom must be acknowledged for the latest initiative and as contributors to the establishment and funding of the library and Ms. Anita Hanekom and Estelle were special guests invited.

The relationship between DCS Groenpunt and the IAHV continues to build in a very positive way from the:

  • Prison Programs run over a number of years,
  • Tree planting at DCS and the local communities,
  • The knitting of blankets for Mandela Day and the distribution of these to disadvantaged members of the Vaal community.

This library will benefit not only the oldies at our Mimi Fourie Hof project but also others in the immediate community, to assist those less fortunate as well as the children from the Leeuhof community who will be able to use the library to assist in their school studies and also gain from the life wisdom of the oldies from Mimi Fourie Hof who will run the library!

The library is rapidly taking shape thanks to the generous donations of books from a number of people, in particular Anita, and a very special thanks goes out to Estelle… the books will really help fill the shelves.

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Breath Water Sound at 22 Barrington Street

It was lovely to teach a Breath Water Sound course over this auspicious time of Navratri and I was blessed to be assisted by Deanne for the sessions and Martina who came to help with the handing out the certificates on the last day which is always special – to have a new face making everyone feel very important!

22 Barrington street is a special place of recovery before that very next step back into “normal” life for many
dealing with addictions and trauma, the BWS course came at a special time as the house councillor
Suzanne mentioned to me at the Obs Pasta Kitchen (a community dinner that happens every Wednesday in Observatory)  that there were many new members to the house making it challenging. I offered the BWS course and she was thrilled asking to start asap!

A few visible changes that we noticed was definitely the focus of the group, especially in one participant who on the first session was unable to remain seated for more than 10min and by the last day never left the session once!
A big everlasting smile landed on the face of another participant on the last day (who was very distant throughout the course) every photo we have she is smiling brightly with such light in her eyes! As Deanne mentioned every single participant  was a very powerful person, from walking into a room of what seemed like broken spirits we left to a chorus of laughs and tremendous gratitude for the knowledge.

We have planned to follow up every ten days as the participants took the forty one day challenge to keep up
their breathing techniques and promises to themselves. The Breath Water Sound course is an amazing opportunity
for everyone to change their lives in a positive healthy way!

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Juvenile Anger – Why we served time

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 – projects@za.iahv.org

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