prison rehabilitation

Prison Programme at Brandvlei Department of Correctional Services in Worcester

The IAHV volunteer teams continue the great work of taking our Prison Programme (for stress relief and healthy minds) into more facilities. The latest beneficiaries were the inmates from the maximum facility at Brandvlei Correctional Services who were taught highly effective breathing techniques for calming the mind and reducing negative emotions.

Participants on the programme reported improved sleep and a new sense of calm. They welcomed the teaching and would look forward to our regular presence at the facility. The vast majority of participants expressed their gratitude for the programme. Every participant shared that they would recommend the programme to other offenders. The facilitators noted the difference in the participants in just a few days of practising the techniques.

A big thank you to the dedicated social workers (Mrs. van Heerden and Mrs Brink) at Brandvlei DCS who made all the necessary arrangements to bring a new programme into the facility. One that helps to develop a healthy mind and a positive attitude which helps to make better personal choices.

Our next programme commences in mid July. The IAHV is and our volunteers are extremely passionate about making a difference in the lives of others.

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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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