diversion

Transformation Story: A STORY OF TRIUMPH

“I don’t have a mother, father, sister, aunt. I got people who are close to me but I don’t have my own family. I lived all my life in institutions – St Thomas, Valley View, Bergsig and School of Industries. This makes me feel sad. I have a sad background full of fights, bullies, chaos. People burnt my toes, stole from me. No one backed me up. Things were just going wild.”

This is the story of a young man who was abandoned at birth and whose heart had been filled with hurt and anger. While he held an overly optimistic view of the future, his greatest fear was to spend the rest of his life alone, fending for himself. At 16, he agreed to undergo a Khulisa Diversion Programme.

Diversion is a process whereby adult offenders are given the chance to be channelled away from the courts and the, often brutal, consequences of the criminal justice system. It is closely linked to restorative justice. When offenders acknowledge responsibility and agree to go through a diversion program, including making amends for what they have done, they are given the opportunity to avoid a criminal record, change their behaviours and learn new skills.

Three years later, he was interviewed about his experience.

“I have been a bully myself. It’s not what I wanted to become. It was what was happening around me. I also have a problem with anger. Khulisa taught me how to be responsible and get up on my own. I learnt how to control my anger. I learnt that fighting and bullying gets you nowhere. I learnt who I am and what I am. Slowly but surely Khulisa changed me. They made me feel proud and confident. They motivated me to do something. I wanted to teach children drama and dance.

When I turned 18 I had to leave School of Industries. I had no choice. I was sent to KwaMashu with some foster family. Things were bad. I was scared to be with strangers. I saw many bad things like people stealing right in front of you. Social Welfare couldn’t help me. I felt like I wanted to hang myself. I felt like the whole world was against me. By the grace of God, Pastor Richard in Newcastle arranged that I come back to Newcastle. I stayed I was very happy to see my (Khulisa) facilitator, who came to the shelter to do a programme.

I also joined an aftercare programme. This gave me hope. I felt inspired to teach children. Things at the place of shelter are really bad. I have nowhere else to go but I can trust people at Khulisa. When I talk to you, my anger goes away. To see people smiling and welcoming me is fantastic. These people know my problems and it’s better to let it out. I came to Khulisa to ask for help to make me a CV and also help me to study welding. Today I have a good job and am earning good money.

Thank You. Khulisa made me come a long way. Khulisa made a big difference to me. I not only said it, many other people said it. Khulisa also made me look inside myself to see what I did to cause the problem. I want to make a success of my life and I know I can, with a little help. I know I am not alone.”