Peace education – the weapon to change the world

By Virin Gomber, Family Programme Manager
March 2014

While the world lost one of its greatest peace champions, Nelson Mandela, last year, we are left with his legacy and his powerful messages. Mandela had a huge belief in the power of education as a tool of transformation. “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” he said.

The Peace Foundation’s Family Programme is one such peace education effort that is attempting to change the world, starting at the family level. The programme offers courses for adults (Peaceful Family Communication) and teenagers (Peaceful Teen Communication) to educate them about the communication mistakes they are making and how to address them, while also empowering them to build better family relationships.  The last year ended on a success note, with a series of well-delivered and well-received trainings, existing networks strengthened and new partnerships established with various community organisations. 

Leaders from various refugee communities successfully completed the Peaceful Family Communication course in November 2013.

In the last quarter of 2013, the Peaceful Family Communication (PFC) course was successfully delivered in Papatoetoe, Mt Roskill and Takanini to participants from various ethnic backgrounds, including Maori, Pacific Island, as well and refugee leaders from countries like Sudan, Ethiopia and Myanmar.  Here’s some warm feedback from participants in the last few courses: 

The PFC teaches how to say the right thing at the right time, every time. The theory and practical skills are easy to learn and can be applied immediately and throughout a family’s lifetime.” 

“On behalf of myself and my family, I/we are very grateful to the author(s) of the PFC techniques, the many facilitators, and the growing movement of local and global harmonious relationships.” 

“Before you die, this is one of the most important things in your life that you should not miss.”  Participants have always appreciated the expertise and professionalism of our trainers and the delivery of the programme. Here’s an example of participant feedback for one of our trainers. 

“Yelena, wow what to say – Articulate, interesting, funny, real and informative. She stayed connected with us all the whole time. Highly enjoyable, mostly thanks to Yelena’s delivery of the material too. Never boring, always interesting.” 

We are even more excited for 2014 as there are at least six PFC courses already booked for different parts of Auckland - from Torbay to Ellerslie to Te Atatu. We also have plans to further expand our networks and spread the word around to benefit more communities. This is the best time for families and communities seeking to benefit from the highly effective, research-based and proven communication skills that these programmes offer.

As Mandela said, “We must use time wisely and forever realize that the time is always ripe to do right.”  Any community organisations, schools or early childhood centres looking to offer the Peaceful Family Communication course to their client network can contact the Family Programme Manager, Virin Gomber at

Huge accomplishments for Family Programme

By Virin Gomber, Family Programme manager
Dec 2013

The Peace Foundation’s Family Programme went through some major transformations this year, with ongoing programme development, launch of the Peaceful Teen Communication programme and establishment of new networks.  In the last quarter of 2013, we successfully completed two Peaceful Family Communication (PFC) courses - one in Otara and the other one in St Heliers. Participants at these two courses included social workers, counselors, parents and teachers, who reported positive benefits and excellent feedback.

  • I struggled with trying to communicate effectively, and to be understood, especially at home. I’ve learnt new skills that are life-changing and creates peace in my relationships ~ Malama.
  • This course is very useful with dealing with conflict. The trainers are professional and understanding. It’s helped me to better my parenting skills and not avoid conflict but to find a solution to the issues. I would highly recommend this training with Yelena and Virin ~ Angela T
  • It was awesome and inspiring to me to better my skills as a person, parent, teacher, helper ~ Joshua Soares

Peaceful Family Communication CourseMeanwhile, we recently finished delivering the PFC courses for the refugee communities (under the Lotteries Grant Board contract). Participants at these courses included refugee leaders from various ethnic backgrounds – Ethiopia, Somalia, Myanmar, Sudan and others. The skills from this programme have been greatly appreciated and we hope to grow this programme further in order to benefit these refugee communities in Auckland.

The Peaceful Family Communication courses under the Te Punanga Haumaru Fund, which aims to address and prevent bullying in communities, included two adult courses and two teen courses successfully completed at KAAT Trust in East Tamaki and Skills Update Training Institute in Papakura. This programme has received a warm welcome in communities, with demand for more courses already in place.

Bookings for a few PFC courses for 2014 include – Torbay School and Te Waipuna Puawai (3 courses), while discussions are on to finalise a few more. Our networking partnerships saw a robust growth, with new and ongoing collaboration with organizations, such as RCN (Roskill Community Network), White Ribbon campaign, ARCC (Auckland Refugee Community Coalition) network, Recovery Solutions (Papatoetoe), Te Waipuna Puawai, MYAN (Manurewa Youth Action Network), YES Disability Resources Centre, Inspiring Communities, Youthlink and Albert-Eden Network, to name a few.

As we finish this year on a positive note, we have bigger plans for 2014 and look forward to strengthening the programme and partnerships further, while continuing to grow and improve the quality of our courses.

Strengthening peace in families

By Virin Gomber
Sept 2013

It has been a remarkable period for the Family Programme (previously called ‘Parent Programme’) with our ‘Peaceful Family Communication’ course spreading its wings in various parts of Auckland and receiving an overwhelmingly warm response. 

The conceptualisation for the Te Punanga Haumaru Fund Project, which aims to build peaceful families through preventing and addressing bullying, especially in high-risk and vulnerable communities, came to fruition with successful completion of the first courses at KAAT Trust in East Tamaki.  The pilot courses under this programme were delivered in August 2013, with two separate trainings: Peaceful Family Communication (for adults) and Peaceful Teen Communication (PTC), the first of its kind specifically targeting teenagers. 

The Facebook closed-group page that offers follow-up support and ongoing advice for participants on the newly learned skills, is increasingly becoming popular with regular addition of new members. 

In the past few months, we have also established new networks, including with community organisations, such as Recovery Solutions, Family Start Manukau, Turuki Family Start, Albert-Eden local board, Te Waipuna Puawai, KAAT Trust, Inspiring Communities, Migrante Aotearoa, Barnardos, etc. These relationships with like-minded organisations are proving helpful in providing further impetus to our programmes. 

With increasing demand for the Family programme from various communities, we look forward to further strengthening our offering in the coming months and contributing toward more peaceful and loving families.  Any community organisations, schools or early childhood centres looking to offer the Peaceful Family Communication course to their client network can contact Virin Gomber at

Peaceful Family Communication hugely popular

By Virin Gomber, Family Programme manager
May 2013

The Peaceful Family Communication course has been busy in the last few months spreading its wings in various parts of Auckland, and receiving a huge and warm response.

We successfully completed the delivery of a few Peaceful Family Communication courses over the last month including:

1. Vauxhall Primary School (Devonport) – 11 & 18 May 2013: This 2-day programme for the parent network of Vauxhall Primary School was well-received and appreciated by the participants.

2. Waiheke Primary School - 8 & 9 June 2013: This weekend programme in Waiheke was a huge success with a great turnout - some couples going over from Auckland to Waiheke for the weekend and quite a few local parents attending. We received strong support from the school and local parents in the organisation of this course. Participants reported thoroughly enjoying the course and expressed the desire for another course soon on the island.

3. Takapuna Primary School - 22, 29 May & 5, 12, 19 June 2013: This was another successful programme that got fully booked and more people were keen to join as the participants spread the positive word from the first evening .

Following courses have been booked for the next few months in Auckland:
Pakuranga-Rahihi Playcentre (Pakuranga)– Starting on 20 June 2013, already fully booked with over 20 participants.
Otara Community Centre (Otara) – 20 & 27 July 2013
St Heliers Church & Community Centre (St Heliers) – 21 & 28 September 2013
Some feedback from participants at recent trainings:

"Amazing course. Everyone should be attending this. Communication is a key in our life and people need to learn how to communicate effectively." - Valeria

"A very good and thought provoking course that helped me to become that little bit more patient and aware of my own behaviour." - Ivone
"I'd say that it's much more than a family communication course - it helps to improve relationships and communication with everybody in everyday life. I heard that it was life-changing and I have to say now that it's true. I'm pretty sure it will have a big effect on my future life." - Constance

Peaceful Family Communication course at Vauxhall Primary School, Devonport 

11 & 18 May, 2013

Participant Feedback:

Very practical, useful information for effective communication that is acquired through discussion and role-play, which helps in assimilation of the knowledge. One of the best courses I have attended." - Christina

"It is a good way to think about the whole topic of communication and gives powerful strategies to use, which will benefit family, work and social communication." - Rafe Tollemache