prison program

Prison Program at Brandvlei Maximum Security, 20-24 January 2020                 

Total number of participating inmates: 16
Teachers: Rafal and Jacqui

100% of the inmates reported very positive experiences from the course and have committed to continue the breathing practices. They recognise the value it has brought to their mental and physical wellbeing. They took to the techniques easily, were very disciplined in their practice and grasped the knowledge well.

The major changes reported during the feedback following the course were: feeling significantly more calm and relaxed; improved sleep (including an immediate full night of sleep which is challenging in the maximum security setting); improved flexibility; a change in mindset; being able to better handle anger, emotions, and stress; self-control and a reduction in aggressiveness, hatred, anxiety, depression and fear; purity of mind and positivity; more focus and being less judgmental of others; increased self-confidence and respect for the other inmates; inspiration to take action and more responsibility; and an overall sense of lightness and peace of mind.

One inmate commented that he felt the course would be instrumental to anyone facing stress and challenges in their lives, and that if he had completed the course prior to being arrested, he would have been able to make better and more informed decisions, which would have prevented him going to prison in the first place. Another inmate felt that his emotions were more stable following the course, that he could think clearer before making decisions with the ability to absorb pressure without breaking down.

100% of the inmates felt that they would recommend the course to other offenders and some had already inspired others to do the course simply by practicing the techniques in their cells and their own personal growth. It was also suggested that the course would not only benefit every inmate at the prison, but also the prison staff, and their own families. Some reported that ‘everyone wants to join the course now’.

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Awareness campaign: Hand in dangerous weapons and crime prevention.

Parolees from Sasolburg working with the SAPS in Zamdela – Awareness campaign: Hand in dangerous weapons and crime prevention.

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Prison Program at Groenpunt Correctional Services

Another life changing Prison Program, was rolled out last week at Groenpunt Correctional Services under the experienced eye of Chintz, supported by Anil & Deana.

54 participants completed the program & based on the testimonials provided it was another great success.

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Breath Water Sound follow-ups with parolees & probationers at the Evaton SAPS and Evaton Sebokeng Zone 7

On Tuesday, 30 April 2019 another 2 Breath Water Sound follow-up sessions were held with parolees and probationers at the Evaton SAPS and Evaton Sebokeng Zone 7 area in the Vaal South of Johannesburg.

Busy Corner

The team Leader Bongani, together with the others in Sebokeng has already started a business called “BUSY CORNER”, where they specialise in car wash, laundry services, ironing and soon garden service (landscaping) as some of the parolees and probationer’s are painters, carpenters and plasterers. This will also give them an opportunity to make use of their skills. We are proud of all their achievements thus far

and all the above was initiated from the first BWS course held in February 2019 in Vereeniging.

They have also taken the initiative to work with the local waste management, regarding clamping down on illegal dumping and collection of waste recycling items.

Moving forward, finally they’re also working on Safety and Security, whereby they want to be trained on how to prevent and deal with shack fires and first aid to save lives until professional help arrives.

The IAHV Vaal project leaders are currently working on a short term goal to open a IAHV Centre in Evaton.

Thank you to our incredible team of IAHV seva warriors lead by Chintz Bhana & Gavin Huber.

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Breath Water Sound for parolees and probationers

Our first Breath Water Sound follow up took place in Sasolburg with a group of 35 parolees and probationers.
They had completed the course in February 2019 with Prison Program teachers Chintz Bhana and Manoj Dayal.

With guidance and assistant from Ms. Melissa and Gavin Huber (Vaal) and Ms. Carla Van Staden from the Dept. Correctional Services they have embarked on a farming project.

They have selected their own team leaders and currently communicating with the Dept. Of Agriculture. The DOA has agreed to assist and guide them with farming skills, and provide them with seedlings to kick start the project.

The team said “Our aim is to move forward and to serve the less fortunate in our community. We want to leave and forget the past”.

A very big THANK YOU to all our Prison Program Teachers, Melissa, Gavin & Team and to our Volunteers for your dedication, time and creating a positive impact to Human Values.

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Breath Water Sound in collaboration with the Department of Correctional Services

The IAHV South Africa held a “first of its kind” Breath Water Sound (BWS) course in the Vaal Region; collaborating with the Department of Correctional Services, under the guidance of Mrs. Anita Hanekom, as well as two other NGO’s (Iskcon Sandton who provided the food and The SpiritLife Prison Church who provided the venue) in order to make this course possible.

The BWS course, held from 26 to 28 February 2019, targeted current prison parolees, probationers that were identified by DCS, as well as affected members of the community… with a total of 240 individuals being led by AOL and IAHV volunteers Chintz Bhana, Gavin and Melissa Huber, Manoj Dayal, as well as Dan Bhervia and Dr. Mohanlal Patel.

10 community upliftment projects were initiated and monthly follow-ups will serve to guide these initiatives to become the success stories of tomorrow. Similar programs will be run every 6 weeks.

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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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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 –

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Prisoners For Peace

The Groenpunt Correctional Services Witnessed a radical transformation of 78 high maximum inmates who underwent the five day IAHV Prison Program . Through the very effective Sudharshan Kriya (deep rhythmic breathing) negative emotions of anger , guilt , mistrust which translates into violence, aggression and crime, gently receded as deep rooted stresses were released from the system thus paving the mind for a more relaxed, calmer and peaceful state.

As they became accustomed to the daily routine of yoga and the breathing techniques , their energy levels started to show significant improvement . A relationship of trust was established and a more openness began to develop with a optimistic dialogue between us . The main theme being how to remain happy in spite of the current status quo , how to prevent a life of crime , how to maintain a peaceful and successful state of being on the inside and out.

Inspite the challenges of having to attend court hearings and going to the infirmary which often prevent inmates from attending our courses conservatively , this course had its lowest drop out rate. This was evident enough of their conviction to improve themselves and also bore witness to the highest number of repeaters . Some repeated this course for the firth time, which is evident in itself to the efficacy of this course.

By the fifth day the minds were well settled , the mindsets more positive and optimistic and a more cooperative behavior was evident.

They reported the following :

  • Feeling very happy after the course , stress released, relaxed and peaceful. They said with this feeling, feelings of anger and violence can not exist .
  • Many felt their anger had reduced
  • Seventy four inmates said their sleep improved significantly, from having insomnia to having uninterrupted sleep
  • Majority reported healing experiences in this course (one person who suffers from sinuses and is chronic medication dependent after the Kriya he did not require and medication as the sinuses were fully opened.
  • Addictions such as smoking reduced
  • Stomach ailments disappeared
  • Chronic headaches subsided
  • Many felt relief from guilt and were able to forgive themselves and ask for forgiveness
  • Fear reduced and hope induced
  • Improved behaviours , they wilfully walk away from flights
  • Influencing gangs in a positive way
  • Feeling of remorse and not wanting to go back to a life of crime and violence, but rather towards a more stable, peaceful family life

Since the implementation of our program the officials have reported there has been no gang violence, not a single fight in the last 6 months at this facility.

On how to break the cycle of crime and violence, they gave the following feedback:

  • Few reported having been arrested for reoffending. Re-offense occurs they said due to a lack of adequate support once leaving the criminal justice system . The stigma of being an ex-convict and the alienation from family and society makes it’s extremely challenging to reintegrate back into society and hence re-offense
  • The cycle of violence can only break when there is a socio-economic shift and job creation
  • Gangs should positively influence its members and not entice one to a life of crimes and violence (e.g education should be encouraged , sports and recreation and arts and culture should be a focus .
  • Each one should take responsibility for their actions and emphasised a life of crime is not worth it .

This work will be show cased:

Afrikaans insert:
Saturday 22 Sep
KykNET – channel 144
English insert:

Sunday 23 Sep.
Time to be confirmed
eNCA – channel 403


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