December 6, 2018

Restorative to the Core

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This blog was written by Learning Leader Alice Vanderkooy who is working alongside co-leader Diane Stronks with Haitian educators and leaders as part of the Christian Education in Haiti: A Restorative Approach Walking Together project.

After singing and prayer to begin the day, we watched Burning Bridges, a DVD put together by the IIRP (International Institute for Restorative Practices). It is a powerful example of a restorative conference. Wrongdoing takes an emotional toll, not just on the victim and the person who has wronged someone, but on those who surround them. Restorative practices, whether in dialogue, in circles or in conferences, can bring healing and restoration to a community, a community that in this case that was torn apart by an act of arson. 

After that, students were given role plays to practice their facilitating skills. They had already done one yesterday which was rather chaotic. Today, by the time we got to Role Play #3, they were much more confident of their skills. As well, the role plays raised many questions, as the participants thought of instances of brokenness and hurt in their communities. It was obvious that they were eager to put what they were learning into practice, although Diane cautioned all of us that this training does not qualify people to jump in and try to deal with cases of serious trauma. Our first task is to create communities that are restorative at their core. Both Diane and I were blessed by the eagerness and enthusiasm of our Haitian friends. We can hardly wait to hear how they plan to apply what they have learned in the year ahead. 




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