Peace ‘can prevail’

2016-10-04 06:00
Learning in Reach hosted various peace activities in Lavender Hill building up to International Peace Day. The organisation believes peace can prevail if people continue to work together.

Learning in Reach hosted various peace activities in Lavender Hill building up to International Peace Day. The organisation believes peace can prevail if people continue to work together.

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Despite gang violence disrupting Peace Day celebrations in Lavender Hill, community members are determined to bring peace to their streets.

Learning in Reach says this is possible as long as non-governmental organisation and community leaders continue to work together.

The organisation held different activities for the area towards the end of September, in the build up to Peace Day (Wednesday 21 September).

Despite having to postpone their celebrations of Peace Day due to gun violence in the area, everything else went well, says Learning in Reach project manager, Leanne Reid.

“Five schools had planned to form a human chain and stand together on International Peace Day for the first time, but the shootings in the area put a temporary halt to proceedings as the safety of the children was everyone’s first priority,” she says.

“The schools, however, did continue to celebrate Peace Day within their classrooms and school grounds. The teachers, children and parents of Prince George Primary School lined the M5 with posters of peace, chanting ‘We want Peace; no more guns’. (They then observed) a heart-wrenching minute of silence at noon to contemplate what Peace in Lavender Hill would look like. Is it achievable? What are the steps to make it a daily reality for the people of Lavender Hill?” she says.

The week continued with a prayer walk hosted by New World Foundation, community yoga classes by Earthchild Project, a mini-street sport carnival hosted by People 4 Sport and Cultural Progression and Hang Ten Pool Club, a modelling show by Cheetah Chicks, and an information session to create awareness on child sexual abuse and parent supervision by Philisa Abafazi Bethu Women Centre. A Peace Festival also took place, with police officers, ward councillor Geraldine Gordon, religious leaders, a Klopse band, DJs, dancers, singers and music celebrating peace and the great work many people do for the community.

“Learning In Reach hopes that this is the start of an annual celebration of peace in Lavender Hill and that each year more people and organisations come together to create a movement of change stemming from the heart of the community and those people living in fear of violence daily,” says Reid.

“Peace is not something you wish for; it’s something you make, something you do, something you are and something you give away. It is only through action and the uniting of government, community, religious leaders and NGOs working in this area that we can drive change and build a more peaceful community.”

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