Here is a moving testimonial written by a Prevention Worker after an I Protect Me (IPM) Peer Training graduation on 3rd October. The graduates are 15 over-16 year olds who are going to do the bulk of the teaching to their peers and juniors so that IPM can make a bigger impact with less outgoing – the Education Department is supporting these young people.

Peer Trainers hard at work

Today something really shifted in the kids as well as the atmosphere

Your programme, mam, has changed lives, minds and circumstance all because of a shift of response. Thank you for your vision, I saw the change of that vision taking place today in those youngsters.

I am personally today just so humbled and moved – thank you so so much for your heart.

Today our girls and boys formed a powerful and indescribable bond, today they realised as peers that the problems that they are facing currently at their school – that they are not alone; they too also realised that communication and agreement with regards to a way forward is a step in the right direction.

As scholars they addressed situations and experiences that they are tired of facing and waking up to such as:

– problems with fencing (that allow gangs full levy in and out of the school)

– weapons, drugs and many other illegal possessions that get used and distributed. This causes fights and school being dismissed early, this just to mention a few…

As groups then divided it was instructed that they come up with possible solutions to these devastating problems and when the learners started verbalising their ideas it was amazing to note the fear that then subsided, their eyes opening to self-worth and initiative, some even took ownership of certain ideas rendered such as :-

– raising awareness and forming a human chain around the school perimeter, holding hands, and getting every possible community member affected by this to stand with them, this including the media, to show the importance and seriousness of having a fence around their school

– random police checks that involved trained people to do so – even availing some parents who get equipped and skilled in this area to mention the least.

As soon as the students realised their power, a miraculous bond started to form beneath the surface of communication.

When evaluation and feedback took place, their task of problem solving, taking action, having a voice and resilience to negative impact and doing became the highlight of the day knowing that they could make a change and start doing so by just them as individuals.

There is an idiom that states ‘knowledge is power’ and that today became alive and tangible in the room.