How young people grow in confidence in addressing the violence in their lives has become increasingly evident in a project in which ICON is currently involved. A series of workshops with student leaders from a Durban high school has demonstrated the enthusiasm with which the young leaders speak, articulate their concerns, and work with increasing effectiveness in groups.
Initially, group work was led by the outside facilitators, and in the last session young people were invited to volunteer to take on the facilitation role. This they found challenging, but also very fulfilling, while the group members generally enjoyed the process and revelled in the opportunity to articulate their ideas and to experience the sense of collective problem-solving.
This work is in sharp contrast to the prevailing negativity about young people in schools, the sense that they have to be coerced and treated with disrespect. Given the opportunity to explore a different way of relating, young people respond with creativity and enthusiasm.