CASE Literacy Update – April 2010

Natasha Dial

Literacy Project

The Literacy Project focuses on improving literacy skills of learners in the Foundation Phase.   The project is rolled out in different primary schools in Hanover Park. All the original schools recruited are still participating, as are all the volunteers that were recruited and trained during February 2009.

In January 2010, 3 new volunteers and 2 schools also formed part of the programme. The volunteers are all local, previously unemployed ladies from the community, who reports at the schools for 2 ½ hours daily. These women are known as “The Big Moms”.

Training of the Big Moms is ongoing, and they are continuously being upskilled. Feedback from the School Principals, Teachers, as well as the Learners has been highly positive for the quarter.

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CASE Wellness News – April 2010

Highlights of the first quarter, 2010

by Sharon Johnson – Wellness co-ordinator

The Wellness Portfolio at CASE is new to the organization, so the model had to be developed before implementation. What, you may ask, is wellness?  Is it a state of being for the individual, the community or society?  Wellness actually takes place on all three levels.  We cannot be well individually if our community circumstances are unhealthy and similarly we cannot thrive in the community if our social environment is not well.

At CASE we are concerned about wellness so that staff and volunteers can function optimally through caring for their well-being.  We also need to facilitate self-care for all members of the community to support our work of reducing incidents of violence.

The wellness focus in the first quarter was on counseling to staff, volunteers and wider community members who need support, such as family members and teachers. The purpose of counseling is to offer support, compassion and care,  awakening within each person the ability to take care of themselves, finding their own strength and enabling them to make their own wise decisions in the face of difficulties. Forty people, volunteers, staff and teachers, attended one-on-one counseling sessions in the first quarter.

Focus was also put on teachers, who were encouraged to think about their own wellness, so strengthening their ability to handle challenging conditions in the classroom.  A variety of options have been offered, from one on one counseling to debriefing and relaxation workshops. In total, three meetings were held at schools, with 20 – 30 teachers attending.  The number of teachers reached was approximately 75.

Wellness days, at which 10 literacy volunteers and 15 counselors were able to measure their levels of stress and trauma and consider their coping tools, were also held.  Relaxation exercises or an outing made up the balance of the time.  Fifteen counselors visited the labyrinth at St Georges Cathedral and were taken through the exercise to awaken their inner wisdom and insights.  An informal picnic lunch followed on the grass in the Gardens.

CASE also offers exercise classes twice a week with Val Benjamin, who checks on weight and blood pressure.  Altogether approximately 10 counsellors made use of this facility in the first quarter.  We hope to motivate more attendees in the months ahead.

Wellness came in the shape of 5 000 Easter eggs when Grove Primary School, together with Newlands Rotary Club, donated treats for the children at the schools in Hanover Park.  There were lots of smiles and sticky faces!  St Cyprians also donated eggs which made up the Easter egg hunt for counselors and Kids Club in the holidays.  Mt Nelson Hotel donated three double tickets to their High Tea as a treat to Literacy, counsellors and staff.  So far, Aunty Katy plans to take her husband for a special treat on her birthday as a surprise.  The other two tickets have yet to be drawn!

CASE is also planning to introduce wellness to Phillipi Police Station, where we have a counselor dealing with victims of crime.  We are planning to start growing vegetables among the containers at CASE offices, with Women’s Wellness group members and the youth taking responsibility for watering and caring for plants.  The Wellness Coordinator has also been invited to the next men’s group meeting, where counseling and debriefing will be offered.

All in all, it has been a busy and challenging time, with Hanover Park community members reflecting on their wellness and CASE spreading the healing to staff, volunteers and beyond. In the first quarter, Wellness touched the lives of thousands of children and adults and a big THANKS to all whose generosity and kindness made it all possible.  Thanks too to the wonderful people of Hanover Park who are prepared to work on themselves and to spread wellness around them in the bid to break the cycle of violence.

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Who is CASE?

Who is CASE

CASE has been working in Hanover Park since 2001. 

In Hanover Park this violence takes root in a social context, which is marked by unemployment and poverty. In Hanover Park

  • 61% of adults do not have an income
  • Only 11.4% of adults have a monthly income of more than R1600.
  • Less than 20% of adults have completed high school

This provides fertile ground for a flourishing gang culture, which recruits young people into the drug trade as users and merchants. 

CASE empowers individuals in the community. These people, in turn, will empower other people and so on, creating a new cycle of non-violence and positive role models and leaders within a community.  Through developing the individual, we believe we are impacting and changing families, and that these positive changes will have a ripple effect in the community.

Vision

In feeling safe and secure comes a new freedom for individuals – and we would like to see this freedom lived out as we learn to respect each others human rights.

 

Mission

CASE seeks to break the cycle of crime and violence in which young people live by equipping community members to recognise and respond appropriately to both the causes and effects of crime and violence in their communities.

CASE works through two integrated programmes:

Training and Personal Development Programme:

  1. Adults, particularly women, are trained in personal development and equipped with valuable skills to implement projects in the community. Adults are trained in counselling skills as well as specialist skills for specific interventions. Adults are supported, professionally supervised in terms of their clinical cases and mentored as part of their own personal development.

 

  1. Youth-in-Action is a leadership and personal development project for youth between the ages of 15-25years. A lot of attention is focused on their personal development and training in leadership. With these skills they are also trained to implement specific interventions and are given specialist training in order to run their community projects. Young people are supported and mentored with respect to their physical and mental well-being as well as their career paths and goals for the future.

 

  1. 3.   Men’s Mentoring Project looks at men’s issues and their impact on community, violence and family breakdown. CASE believes that absent fathers and unhealthy male role models are key causes of violence in communities. 

 

Community Development Programme: 

CASE Counsellors are all women are from the community and staff have been trained to offer emotional and psychological support to young people in schools, in the community and to their parents through various projects:

Focused support groups:

  • Women’s group
  • Bereavement group
  • Parent support groups
  • Youth at risk groups in partnership with NICRO
  • Teenage mother’s group
  • Youth Support group

 

Care for carers:

  • Professional counselling is offered to individual community members when needed.
  • CASE offers clinical supervision to educators, police and other community workers.
  • Care for carers workshops are run for specific groups of people

 

Counselling:

  • Counselling in 13 schools
  • Counselling in key community areas

 

Lifeskills:

  • Lifeskills taught in schools
  • Workshops run in community to expose people to further lifeskills teaching
  • Address community forums to provide information, raise consciousness and suggest positive responses to violence in the community.

 

Literacy:

  • Reading groups for children and youth held after school

 

Youth-in-Action leaders also have specific projects which they implement and run in the community under the mentorship of a community member:

CASE Kids Club

  • Weekly after-school lifeskills and recreational programme for children 3-14years

 


MADD

  • Music, Art, Dance & Drama session run with children and youth
  • Performances by MADD youth leaders

 

Sport

  • Weekly afterschool sports activities for children and youth

 

Outdoor Club

  • Nature conservation and hiking group have bi-weekly workshops and excursions focusing on nature conservation

 

FACE @CASE

After-school Programme incorporating the above activities for children based at three schools.

Extending our impact

 

CASE is frequently approached by universities, civil society organizations, government departments and community based organizations to provide training for their staff or members; or to make inputs on degree courses. More recently, CASE’s work has achieved recognition in national and international fora and we are being asked to participate in policy and programme development, as well as in research to understand and improve community and public health.

 

While we believe the CASE model and approach to work should be shared widely, we do not think it is possible to fulfil this role, while simultaneously running a growing CBO.  

 

Proposal for a research and training unit in community emotional health

We therefore propose separating the policy, research and training aspects of CASE from the Hanover Park operation.  We envisage a research and training unit, preferably based at a University and resourced to facilitate a community of practice in community emotional health through

  • Scaling up and accrediting our training programmes.  
  • Offering training, mentorship and support of community counsellors, community development workers and community health practitioners.
  • Offering training, supervision and coaching of those taking on counselling supervision and support
  • Ongoing mentorship and support of particularly community based organisations and government facilities, such as clinics and schools, to consolidate training and maintain a high standard of work.
  • Research and evaluation
  • Advocacy and public education

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