The Education for Life Programme is a Conversion process that leads participants through introspection, reflection and self-examination to face the reality of their present situation, to identify, name and own values, attitudes and behaviours that are not compatible with living Gospel values. With Jesus as the key focus, participants are led by prayer, personal reflection, dramas, songs personal testimonies and videos, to see that unless they do change undesirable behaviour, life in the future will lose all dignity and become cheap, promiscuous and valueless. The challenge is to accept the invitation to allow Jesus to truly become our “Life Giving Water”. (John 4:7-16). With renewed confidence participants come to see that God and God alone can give us the love and life for which we yearn. The programme is an opportunity to grow into freedom of choice and intimacy, a process of becoming more fully human.
Education for Life is a live in experience that lasts for the duration of five days. Participants usually respond through invitations sent to local churches, schools or they are recommended by others in the community.
The programme is can be of benefit to any individual or community who wishes to change on any affective area of their personality, ways of relating, communicating, being …. it has no age limits, no religion, no gender, no colour – it is a national effort to bring about the best in everyone.
Presently we have trained numerous youth. Our target group is 16 to 25 years old for two reasons:
We see them as potential leaders among the younger youth when they are sufficiently trained and conversant with the programme.
These are on average a highly sexually active group and we believe if they can change behaviours then their life will witness to others.
The high rate of sexual activity, alcohol and drug abuse amongst young people especially young women, is ever increasing.
The lack of awareness amongst young people that pre-marital sex, alcohol and drug abuse affect them and not simply ‘other’ young people.
The general approach amongst many young people is that the dangers of pre-marital sex, alcohol and drug abuse are not taken seriously.
The general approach of the ‘safe sex using a condom method’ is simply not leading to a change of behaviour.
Youth need to know that there are other life giving options and that they have freedom to choose.
That life is about the development of the whole person and not just the physical aspect.
In understanding the Education For Life Process (Value, Attitude and Behaviour Change) the programme is broken down into three stages, for the duration of a five-day.
Know and accept the present reality (value, attitude and behaviour)
STAGE I – EXPLORING LIFE
This is facilitated by:
a. The youth participants telling the story of their present reality, as lived in their social context.
b. Focusing on the commonalities and challenges of their real life experiences.
c. Looking for what has been overlooked, non frequent issues but still challenges to their well-being.
Projection: It is important at the end of Stage I for participants to project what the future will be like if current behaviour does not change.
Choose and commit oneself to a possible new behaviour
STAGE II – THE NEW PICTURE
This is facilitated by:
a. Calling forth alternative goals (behaviour, values, attitudes that they would like to live out.)
b. Critiquing the possibility of living the alternative behaviour, values, attitudes they present.
c. Choice and Commitment to living this new reality as an individual and member of society.
STAGE III – ACTION
– Practicality and Implementation of the Programme
This is facilitated by:
a. Asking what can be done
b. Planning how to do it
c. Committing oneself to doing it
This process forms the basis of the “Education for Life” process. It is based on the ‘helping skills’ model of Gerard Egan, a behavioural and problem-solving approach. As described above each stage has three components, which assist one to go through that stage progressively.
After an Education For Life programme has been conducted in an area, potential leaders are identified and are invited to meet once a month with other leaders in their area/school. During the monthly meetings we continue to reflect on the changes that the youth have committed themselves to during the previous month. Together with their facilitator, the youth look at how they have managed to sustain the change, where they failed to sustain it, why they failed, possible other approaches to change. A central part to the monthly meetings is praying and reflecting together, working on producing relevant dramas and songs, based on their shared experiences, that can be used during future workshops. The aim of the follow up groups is to act as a support system for each other; to keep alive the spirit of unity and to encourage the youth to grow in their personal identity as young committed Christians concerned about the well-being of their future.