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JIS News

Senior trainer with the Peace and Love in Society (PALS) programme, Norma Rochester, is urging Jamaicans to have faith in the work being done by the organization to bring back peace to the nation’s schools.
Ms. Rochester, who was speaking with JIS News at a peace concert initiated by PALS at the August Town Primary School yesterday (March 7), to mark Peace Day, pointed out that although “social changes take a while. there is no doubt that we can change back to a society that seeks peace and pursues it”.
According to Ms. Rochester, PALS has been involved with August Town Primary since April 2005 and has designed interventions to help students “to manage their anger, deal with their conflicts peacefully, have an understanding of their own feelings and has been teaching ways to calm the negative feelings and therefore channel them towards building greater relationships”.
As a result of these interventions, the Senior Trainer told JIS News, there have been “significant changes” in the attitudes of the students.
“There is a lot more respect for the space of others. the noise level has lowered, the desire to work with each other, team work and co-operation amongst each other has been enhanced,” she observed.
PALS has also been sharing the idea of a peaceful society with the August Town community, Ms. Rochester pointed out, and has already targeted parents by establishing free workshops to pass on skills that are similar to those being taught to the children.
The skills taught at these workshops, she informed, “includes understanding conflicts, making a choice when conflict comes and just being more peaceable and neighbourly.”
Meanwhile, recording artiste and safe schools’ ambassador, Abijah, endorsed the school’s Peace Day celebrations. He said it was important for him to extend his services beyond being a recording artiste to being a role model.
“I want to set a good example.to be a good role model for the youth especially the younger ones because they will be the leaders of tomorrow.if we can be good role models (then) the youth will have a vision for themselves, hence getting rid of crime and violence,” he explained.
Performers at the event included ASHE, Gem Myers, Paul Hamilton and Natty King. Peacemaker awards were also presented to a number of students in recognition of their efforts to promote peace within the school.