Community Mindful sharing circles - Iziko

Self-awareness, empathy, coping with stress, coping with emotions, interpersonal skills, creative thinking and problem solving, responsible decision-making, effective communication, and critical thinking are 10 life skills recognized by the World Health Organization1  to promote well-being across all cultures. Life Skills programs are being implemented in many countries for different purposes, such as HIV prevention in Zimbabwe, adolescence pregnancy prevention in Mexico, The prevention of child abuse in the UK, the creation of education for life in South Africa and Columbia, and the prevention of substance abuse in the USA2 


Kowie Foundation has identified a very fundamental and highly neglected reason why self-awareness should be implemented in communities – To curb helplessness and empower individuals and communities to take responsibility over the lives. When individuals and communities live in fear, shame, guilt, anxiety, confusion from historical trauma, war, abuse, rape or molestation they are less motivated and less able to take actions that could help themselves and their loved ones3


Many donors and governments have been practicing giving handouts to poor individuals and communities for decades, as a way of fighting poverty. While this is noble for the donor and relieving for the beneficiaries, it is not always sustainable. A large body of research points to the benefits of welfare grants. However, the idea that giving away money will rapidly change the lives of the poor can be misleading. Many people who survive on handouts may develop dependency syndrome. Furthermore, they can often become objects of negative societal reactions by others and this can keep them in shame3.

What is Iziko?


The word “Iziko” is Zulu (South African language) word for hearth (the for of a fireplace). It symbolizes the social center of the home.


Kowie Foundation’s “Iziko” is the social center of the community. It is a space for resocialization, reconnection with self and others, and harmony.


An Iziko is a sharing circle of 10-15 people, facilitated by a trained animator with the use of a curriculum called, “Breeze of Liberation” developed by Kowie Breeze. At the Iziko, participants use the “Learning by sharing approach, based on storytelling to develop build deeper relationships with themselves, transcend pain, identify and overcome victim thought patterns, learn to better deal with fear, anxiety, anger and depression, and develop better relationships with money.


Iziko will with collaborate other community-based organizations that provide other material assistance to support participants to develop more holistically.