Masithethe Counselling Services held a 10-day workshop from February 11 to 22 at their East London premises specifically aimed at community workers.
In the first week, the workshop covered various topics under the umbrella of personal growth, including trust building and listening skills, among others.
The second week saw more serious advanced counselling skills like rape and trauma debriefing being tackled.
In order to assess the level of their community involvement, trainees over 21 years of age, had to fill out an application form and attend an interview.
The organisation’s director Jackie Orsmond said the skills gained would assist trainees to go out and serve their communities in a more professional manner.
“They [the attendees] learnt communication and listening skills, what the procedure is when reporting child and gender abuse and how to put someone on suicide watch and where to refer them, among other things,” Orsmond said.
Masithethe also trains lay-counsellors who assist with counselling at the centre and also in schools.
Lynette Morupisi of the Mary Project attended the course to gain a better cultural perspective and better knowledge of the country.
“I’ve lived in Canada for 25 years and I’m quite impressed by the expertise they have given us. It really is a growth and learning experience to better serve the community,” Morupisi said.
Siyabulela Bulabula of Southernwood hopes to change males’ perspective, especially with regards to rape and gender-based violence.
“We tend to be judgmental as people and ask questions like ‘what are you wearing?’ and this is very wrong,” Bulabula said.
He said improving his approach to team work and listening skills were important when it came to assisting the community
Living just outside the city in Tsholomnqa, Bahle Ntsonto said these skills in the rural areas can help encourage those affected by HIV/Aids, noting that giving hope and confidentiality are key to help the community.