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GROUP OF HOPE . At the heart of change. White Paper on Corrections in South Africa: Chapter Three – “Correction is a societal responsibility.”. 3.3.7 “….offenders are encouraged to discard negative and destructive values and replace them with positive and constructive values …..”.

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GROUP OF HOPE


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GROUP OF HOPE

At the heart of change

slide2

White Paper on Corrections in South Africa: Chapter Three – “Correction is a societal responsibility.”

3.3.7 “….offenders are encouraged to discard negative and destructive values and replace them with positive and constructive values …..”

3.3.8 “It is the vision of our correctional system that by the time offenders are released into society, they will have developed an attitude of desiring to serve their families and society with competence, excellence and responsibility.”

slide3

White Paper on Corrections in South Africa: Chapter Thirteen – “External partnerships”

13.1.1: “No correctional system can achieve its objectives if it does not have a range of healthy external partnerships.”

13.2.1: “The relationships between the DCS and the community, community-based organisations, NGOs and faith-based organisations are inherent to the successful achievement of the rehabilitation and reintegration of offenders.”

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To change behavior you must first understand the behavior.

  • HIV/AIDS: Why do people discriminate?
  • Lack of knowledge?
  • No compassion?
  • No sense of “ownership of the problem”?

Behavioral change can not be forced onto anyone, but it can be “directed”.

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How the Group of Hope originated.

The Group of Hope was established during June 2002.

This project was an initiative of 8 inmates of the Brandvlei Maximum Correctional institution and myself.

The inmates attended a HIV/AIDS course.

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Each Group of Hope consists of 7 projects:

  • Information
  • Adoption
  • Gardening
  • Needlework
  • Arts & Crafts
  • Events
  • Finance
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INFORMATION:

The purpose of this project is to inform, teach and help prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS in our Correctional Institutions as well as in our communities.

Crime prevention, poverty alleviation and rehabilitation of offenders is some of the main objectives of this project thru skills- and personal development.

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“ADOPTION”

The group have decided to “adopt” people in need, like the aged, street children, children's homes, disabled people and children that have been orphaned by HIV/AIDS.

“Adoption” in this sense means “…to take care of and responsibility for…”

It is our aim to organize an event for these people in need at least once a month. At these events the community benefit from the group’s activities.

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GARDENING:

The gardening project was started to provide our “adopted” people with fresh vegetables. We are now going “green” and since September 2008 we have started with an organic garden and “Vermiculture”.

We have donated vegetables to various organizations and individuals, like children's homes, old age homes, hospitals, shelters and homes for the disabled. We also give fresh vegetables to the HIV positive inmates in our institutions.

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NEEDLEWORK:

The needle work project’s responsibility is to mend and make new clothes for people in need. Male as well as female inmates are trained in this regard.

In this project we also made over 300 baby blankets that we donated to hospitals and children in need. We also do knitting and embroidery.

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ARTS & CRAFTS:

The Group of Hope members take part in various forms of arts and crafts, like making cards, bracelets, tin angels etc. The aesthetic appreciation of the inmate is being developed here.

The inmates train other offenders as well as children in these crafts.

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EVENTS:

Every year the Group of Hope commemorates national and international days like: World AIDS Day, 16 days of no violence against woman and children, youth day, day for the disabled etc.

The events project is also responsible for all other events of the group.

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FINANCE:

The Group of Hope is dependent on donations as well as the selling of some of our arts articles.

All decisions taken about the spending of the money is taken by the action committee members and then endorsed by the coordinator.

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NON PROFIT ORANISATION:

We have registered a Non Profit Organization under the name of “Group Of Hope Development”. One of the directors is an ex-prisoner and Group Of Hope member.

This company have their first office in Paarl. The aim of the company is to provide land and paying jobs for inmates being released.

During their incarceration inmates will be trained and their skills will be developed. They will also be exposed to “emotional changes”. The company will give them the opportunity to study further through the availing of bursaries whilst in prison.

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BENEFITS OF THE PROJECT:

  • The Group Of Hope’s exposure to the public and the media over the past seven years were astonishingly positive. Literally hundreds of people’s attitude towards DCS and the rehabilitation that we do, HIV positive inmates as well as children living with the virus have changed positively.
  • Inmates are being trained in various skills, crime prevention, HIV/AIDS, public speaking, gardening, financial management etc.
  • Inmates are being kept busy, trained and prepared for re-integration into our communities with a better understanding of themselves and vulnerable people around them.
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Hundreds of community members gained in one way or another from the Group of Hope. This changes their attitude towards offenders and people living with HIV – in turn -it has rehabilitation value for an inmate if he feels that he is needed and can mean something for children, old aged people and disabled children (people in need).

  • They give something back to the community they have stolen from, killed in or committed other crimes.
  • The perception that inmates can play no positive role in the community is being changed.
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ACHIEVEMENTS AND DUPLICATION:

  • The Group of Hope have won various awards, to name a few:
  • An World Bank award/ Development market place: HIV/AIDS turning ideas into action
  • The National Community Builder of the year award
  • The “Impumelelo” award
  • The Center for public service innovation award
  • The Correctional Services Special Award (twice)
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REPLICATION OF THE PROJECT:

This project can be replicated very easy. We have a manual of operations and constitution that can be followed and changed to suit various situations and organizations. The principle of caring and the need to care for is global; it awaits awakening.

We wish to have a project like this in all the Correctional Institutions in South Africa, as well as in the rest of the world……. Unfortunately after 7 years we still awaits formal approval!

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REMEMBER: “There is evil in the best of us and some good in the worst”

Thank you for the opportunity to do this presentation – Please feel free to come and visit us!

THE END

Jacobus Pansegrouw.