By Garth Japhet, CEO of HEARTLINES
We are a country rich with diversity and alive with possibility, but sadly our potential is threatened by multiple social problems such as family breakdown, HIV/AIDS, crime, poverty, the erosion of vital institutions such as schools, health facilities, the legal system and even government itself.
The causes of these problems are complex and varied, however at their heart lies the breakdown in healthy relationships between parent and child, between members of families, within communities, companies and institutions. This breakdown has often been referred to as a breakdown in social cohesion.
In order to build the society we all wish for, we need to rebuild healthy relationships at every level of society. The building blocks for healthy relationships are good values that are lived out every day. These include compassion, courage, fairness service, honesty, diligence, perseverance, forgiveness, self control, humility, responsibility and acceptance.
Heartlines aims to play a significant role in building healthy relationships by promoting the discussion and teaching of values. This has been our focus to date and was initiated with the period of “8 weeks 8 values one national conversation” in 2006. Subsequently teaching materials have been and continue to be produced for tens of thousands of schools; Faith Based Organisations as well as Correctional Facilities.
While the teaching of values is foundational in building healthy relationships, we will only restore the broken relationships across our country if we are persuaded to act differently. To move beyond our every day way of living, to reach out to others who we may never have related to before, or to those close to us, with whom relationships have broken down. It is in doing this, either randomly or in an organised way that we connect with each other and in so doing, begin to build healthy relationships and this country.
It is in this context that Heartlines brings a new intervention, which aims to help South African’s to live differently. “6 Weeks of values in action – Do Good for change” This intervention aims to reach at least 10 million people.
The 6 week period begins on the 3rd March 2009,
Specifically, Heartlines aims to inspire people to:
Do random acts of kindness – doing an act of kindness in an unexpected way. (Such as:- Clean up the area outside your neighbour’s house, Visit an elderly person and offer to do a chore for them or offer to look after the child of a single parent for a day)
Organise with others to undertake projects that will affect one or many people. (Such as: restore a place where children play such as a park, support the local public library or paint the walls of a school that needs it.)
Although we would encourage people to continue beyond the 6 weeks, the reason for a concentrated period of 6 weeks is that the impact of many people acting together over a short time period time is likely to be more profound. It is also more likely to create momentum into the future.
Our strategy to support and inspire people in the 6 weeks includes
“Hopeville”. A 6 week mini series on SABC 2 at 7.30pm starting 3rd March. The inspirational story of a man who despite the odds has the courage to live his values and in so doing restores relationships and changes a community for good.
Programmes and articles that will inspire and challenge people to act. People are encouraged to contact Heartlines and the involved media about what they have done and what the effect was, so that their stories can be fed into the media, this in turn will inspire others. Heartlines is partnering with multiple radio and TV channels and print publications.
A campaign using “new media” which will include the use of Mxit, mms, sms e-mail and the web.
The Forgood movement.
People will be encouraged to join the Forgood movement. This is a movement of people (already numbering more than 23 000), who are dedicated to living out their values “For good.” This is a virtual movement through which Heartlines supports members through sms, e-mail and they in turn live their values and build relationships. (You can join by sms’ ing “good” to 32197 or by going on line to www.forgood.co.za )
The Heartlines mentorship programme.
One way in which people can really reach out, build relationships and make a lasting difference, is to mentor a young person. Heartlines has started a programme that supports people to mentor a young person they already know. They will be supported by a print resource, a helpline, and ongoing e-mail and sms support. The backbone of this programme is the Forgood movement. People join Forgood and then specify that they want to be a mentor. With already over 1000 mentors signed up in 6 weeks, the aim is to have 10,000 in the first year.
Resources for Faith Based Organisations
Heartlines has produced a resource to help people in FBOs to organise themselves to do projects that will affect one or many people. Heartlines aims to reach 40,000 FBO leaders and mobilise their members with these resources in the next 6 months.
A Resource for Youth.
Heartlines has produced a resource to help young to organise themselves to do projects that will affect one or many people. Heartlines aims to reach 50,000 youth leaders with the resource.