Mothobi Tlale is a 23-year-old facilitator of the Peace Education Program (PEP) in the Phiri area of Johannesburg, South Africa.
I’m writing this to share the story of my life and how the Peace Education Program helped change it.
For me, growing up was challenging because I was away from my parents for a long period of time. I lived with my two sisters, and as the only boy in the household, I felt pressured by family, friends, and the community at large. When I was in grade 10, I started hanging out with the bad guys at school because I wanted to be cool. I started doing drugs just to fit in. Before long I became an addict, and my life began to change.
I started engaging in criminal activities, stealing other people’s money and doing other things that would feed my drug habit. I judged others, thinking that I knew what life was all about, only to find out later that I didn’t know who I was. When the point came that I started asking myself tough questions, I felt disappointed about what I was doing with my life.
So after graduating from high school, I found a new purpose in my life by starting an NGO called Phiri Youth Club. I stopped doing drugs and I started fighting against them in my community because they’re a huge problem. I developed a life-skills program and discovered my own capabilities in art. The NGO also specializes in art and culture activities. I’m trying to be a positive leader in my community.
A little more than a year ago, I was introduced to the PEP, and it was a blessing because it further changed my life for the better. At first I didn’t understand the curriculum because I thought peace was something physical. But as the program progressed I learned about the fundamental needs of a human being. Now I know I don’t have to search for peace because I already have it inside me.
Since I started PEP, my life has changed in the sense that I always appreciate the fact that I’m alive. That’s the important thing. I’m breathing, and that is the blessing of all blessings. Prem Rawat changed my life, and that’s why I want to change other people’s lives. So I started volunteering to facilitate PEP around my community, and honestly, it’s changing people’s lives. I’m so happy helping people gain an understanding about peace, and helping them pursue it. They like the program very much.