For almost a year now, Pranesh Jugganath has been pondering what he can do to combat the violence and anger that derives from economic hardship, high youth unemployment rates and enduring social injustice in the communities around Avoca Secondary School, where he works as deputy principal.
Located in Durban, Avoca Secondary School admits students from surrounding townships where people struggle with lack of access to basic educational resources, health care and adequate housing. High levels of violence in some of these communities also create self-esteem challenges among his students, Jugganath said.
As a founding member of the South African Peace Education Network (SAPEN), Jugganath said one solution is implementing a program into Durban schools’ curriculum called peace education, a practice that dates back many years. It is a concept used to help individuals recognize and utilize skills and behaviors to manage conflict in a positive manner. A long-term goal for peace education programs are nonviolent resolutions for issues such as social injustices.
“Schools are the best place to equip young minds with the skills, knowledge and attitudes,” Jugganath said. “That is the best platform to train our future leaders.” … Jugganath said he is using the concept of peace education developed by The Prem Rawat Foundation, a nonprofit organization based in Los Angeles, to guide his own ideas for incorporating peace education at schools, including Avoca Secondary.
“It is to live in harmony with oneself and nature,” said Jugganath, who refers to himself as a peace ambassador. “If I might quote Prem Rawat, he says that ‘peace starts with yourself first, before you preach to somebody else.’ If you are not at peace with yourself, don’t use it as a tick box.”