We work with some basic premises as the foundational agreements we make with and within communities and those who choose to volunteer and work with the My Arms Wide Open team. We are a volunteer organization and every person is truly valuable and empowered to make the contributions they can to support projects, communities and the individuals within the community

The first basic premise we work from, is that we agree that we don’t go in to communities and conversations to ‘solve problems’, we go in to conversations and communities with ears wide open and to ask only questions, to better understand and support the communities we serve alongside.

The second basic premise that we work from, is that we do nothing FOR communities, we work WITH communities and such our tagline is By the Community, For the Community. In other words, everything is community led.

The third basic premise that we work from speaks to our values as well and is important to call out here. We work from equality, meaning that we see the person first, not their age, gender, beliefs, appearance, partner preferences, social status or standing, or their location and circumstances. See and hear the person.

The My Arms Wide Open Mentors are the first line of support for people on the ground in community as well as within projects and causes. Many of the people you support will be people that have participated in and competed our ‘Iziko Labahlali’ (Hearth of the Community) program, which you will have an opportunity to audit or participate in yourself

Why it matters

The  program incorporates effective training and leadership that is driven by the community needs and insights from members within those communities, indigenous learning systems and culturally grounded learning and communication practices.

To ensure that what is learned is put into practice, during the program we establish smaller groups from the larger group that will support each other with challenges, solutions and affirmations daily - We check in with each group every week in the first month and then monthly after that, and this is where our Mentors come in as the direct support for the smaller and larger groups to ensure that they are asking questions among themselves, sharing successes and drilling down into challenges they are currently facing or perceiving

The program uses various techniques in a culturally appropriate manner to engage with participants including art therapy, cognitive and transpersonal psychological techniques and NRP. 

What is Iziko Labahlali?

Iziko Labahlali is about engagement and creating a ‘common’ language and understanding at the community level enabling people to accept and understand each other and the challenges they are facing at both an individual and a community level.

What you'll do

Mentor - You will act as a mentor to individuals and smaller groups in the cause, or its related projects, that you are involved in.

Support - As a mentor, you will provide support to individuals within your cause to help them meet and overcome daily challenges by asking additional questions and helping them to explore and define root cause and issues more clearly so that that are able to come up with opportunities and solutions themselves to resolve or overcome challenges effectively

Build relationships - You will develop relationships with the people in your team and be the person that they can reach out to, when they need to talk things out. Networking is a critical part of building relationships and as a mentor you will have the opportunity to connect individuals you are working with to individuals or groups who have experienced similar or the same problems to help them overcome the challenges they are facing, helping them feel safe and secure knowing others have had similar challenges and were able to overcome them.



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