Teaching a culture of non violence

Taking learners to a new level of conciousness



Post-course evaluation by delegates at a four-day course in October 2015:


HECC uses a structured questionnaire to illicit post course responses from delegates. Our questionnaire combines structured questions (using a Likert series) as well as a number of open ended questions. This method is used to obtain a delegate’s opinion and allow for a balanced bias. We have used the scores to create a chart of the distribution of their opinions. We tabulate the responses to the open-ended questions below to allow for the widest response by the delegates. This allows them to express extra information and their concerns.

Two specific questions were asked of the delegates:


Question 1:

Please indicate one of the following:

1. The course exceeded my expectations – 6 of the 9 delegates who completed the course, ticked this.

2. The course met my expectations – 3 of the 9 delegates who completed the course, ticked this.

3. The course did not meet my expectations - none of delegates, ticked this. 


Question 2:

Please complete the following by ticking the statement that you agree with the most:

1. I WILL recommend the course - all 9 delegates who completed the course, ticked this.

2. I will NOT recommend the course - None of delegates ticked this.

Delegates interacting 



  1. The course was very fruitful and also very eye opening.

  2. Keep it up... the workshop was very interesting and informative.

  3. A great workshop (!) really interesting.

  4. Information was of high standard very encouraging.

  5. I did true soul searching.

  6. This was an eye opener.

  7.  A great workshop indeed really interesting.

  8. I am so impressed with this information got it today.

  9. Wish to comeback for more information- the workshop was very fruitful... wish that all educators from different school can attend even parents for the benefit of their children.

  10. This was very interesting workshop I wish we could get more time for this. This was excellently done. The workshop was an eye opener.

  11. We received a lot of information, which we wouldn’t have got if one did not attend. As people we take many things for granted so now we will be able to understand our learners better. The workshop was very fruitful and a mind opener.

  12. It was very interesting. It was good for me, challenging and very much informative.

  13. Excellent facilitators. Eye opener. I hope some more schools can also attend this workshop.

  14. It was very informative and gave one a lot of thinking.

  15. Such a great and interesting session. This should not be a once off thing. It should be something that carries on and on for each term.

  16. Very informative. Wish all the educators can get this kind of workshop.

  17. Such a great workshop. One who didn’t make it for the past 2 days has missed something big. To all of you guys you’ve opened our eyes because we always think about us, forgetting about the community that we work with. The guy from JHB, Yossi Vissoker, was super great, hoping to get to see him again. To the organisers, thank you.

  •  ‘In regard to that part of the workshop that dealt with the suffering of animals. It is hard to explain, but I took the suffering of animals – dogs, chickens, pigs – for granted. I thought it was just the way it is. But after your workshop, I find myself noticing every dog I see – for the first time. Before, I do not think I even saw them there. In addition, if I did, I did not want to. Now I see them and find myself looking to see if they need help. It is quite a responsibility on my shoulders. I realise now that animals have a life to live as well – whatever animal they may be.’    










  • ‘In regard to that part of the workshop dealing with coping with bullying and stress, the facilitator was not just brilliant... he was very brilliant.  He was able to make me go into myself and make sense of what I deal with on a daily basis. For example, I was unaware that the learners who continually misbehave need my assistance and not punishment. It is with this change in perception that has enabled me – today, for the first time – to deal effectively with misbehaviour in a harmonious manner. The other teachers who attended the workshop have reported a greater sense of co-operation with the learners too. I am aware now that communication can be a problem and even on a one-to-one basis, communications go awry and misinterpretations occur. After the workshops, my teachers and I felt we should expose all our educators to your workshops.’



Luhlaza Senior Secondary School -  Humane Education Workshop REPORT



‘Totally Awesome!’ – how one delegate described Humane Education’s workshop CARING CLASSROOMS

Delegates fit together the

Five Freedoms for all Animals

  • Thank you LOTTO for its sponsorship

  • Thank you Maggi Marjoram, head of the SPCA in Franschhoek who made it happen

  • Thank you to Errol and his team at Travellers Lodge for the wonderful venue, accommodation and hospitality

  • Thank you to the all 43 delegates who attended, some of them having travelled  long distances to be with us

  • Thank you to Humane Education donors and last but not least...

  • Thank you to Humane Education’s own fantastic team 


Vivienne Rutgers demonstrates how to use the Teacher’s Guide to Humane Education

Behavioural consultant and therapist conducts the workshop ‘Knock Down the Barriers to Learning’

Which of the Five Freedoms are taken away by cages?

Louise asked delegates to write down what they would take away with them from our workshop (apart from our Big Bag of Resources).

These were their replies... 


“This was a very interesting workshop. It empowered us to take care of our animals at home and also to relate better to our kids in the classrooms.”


“The workshop was very educational and relaxed. Thank you for enabling me to learn more. I will now look at the children and animals with new eyes.

Thank you for the new insight you have created in me.”


“Enjoyed it so much. Learned how to enjoy animals. There’s lots you’ve given me to take to school and teach the children.”


“It was very interesting. I learnt a lot.”


“Excellent, informative workshop. Thank you!”


“What I would like to say is that as a SPCA inspector, I felt, at the beginning, that this workshop was not intended for me but, would you believe, I now feel that I am exactly in the right place.  It is very inspiring and I feel that I will be able to make a difference in the communities in which I work after all.

Thank you very much.”


“Informative, Different and Totally AWESOME.”


“I thought it was wonderful, very interesting and a great delivery. You have given me a lot to think about. Thank you.”


“I think the workshop was very insightful and encouraging. It really gives you a new way of how to bring caring into the classroom. Thank you.”


“The workshop was very good and educational. The facilitators are very, very good.”


“Very thought-provoking, inspiring and educational. A lot of material to take back and apply in our area. Thank you!”


“What an amazing and interesting session. Keep up the excellent work!!”


“The workshop was wonderful, exciting and interesting.”


“What a wonderful afternoon. I never thought I would stay focussed. But congratulations on a wonderful presentation.

Amazing. Thank you very much. An eye opener.”


“The presentation was very educational. I have much more insight.”


“I have learned that I can stop and prevent the abuse of children and animals.”


“ The problems that we, as teachers, face in our classrooms – I will follow up, but in a good manner and professionally.”


“I realise from this workshop that I can make a very big difference in my community. Attending this workshop was worth it.” 


“Abuse takes place in the lives of animals as well as people. Adults as well as children. I wish I could attend more of this kind of workshop.”


“I have gained more insight into how to help children in my community and to understand the importance of animal welfare too.

Also I now have a greater understanding of why abuse happens and I now have a good guide on how to handle it all with a little more sensitivity, rather than by being too authoritative.”


“This workshop has aided me in my job because I understand things better. Keep up the good work and thank you for all you do.”


“I now have a far greater awareness of the factors affecting a child’s ability to learn and have learned methods with which to deal with these factors.”


“I will take from this workshop an understanding of how to deal better with a child’s problems.”


“The magnitude of the social problem affecting all aspects of our lives... we see only the iceberg above the water.

We are not addressing the iceberg that is unseen and dangerous below the water.

We may not be able to solve it all in our life-times. But we can play our  part now for a future solution.”


“I feel now that I can help break the cycle of abuse that creates bullies in children. More workshops like this are needed.

We need to do our best to bring change and stop the bullying among the kids.”


“I’ve had a lot of fun here. It was very nice and I have learned so much. I must respect children and animals.”


“I will take away with me much more open-mindedness.  I will check situations from the other person’s side.”


“In the future, I will remain calm, take a moment to assess the whole situation and then start at the root of the problem and

work slowly but surely towards a solution. Be patient! Look deeper. Don’t take things at face value!!”


“I want to make a difference in someone’s life; to take the message forward. I really enjoyed this course.”


“Violence towards an animal is often the result of violence that the perpetrator has experienced”.  


“Fabulous. Would like more workshops please.”


”I will be better able to help children with problems and to understand my learners better.”


“I know now never to make a child feel that he/she is ‘useless’. Always look at children with greater insight.”


“I will teach children to care for things that can’t take care of themselves, such as our pets. Help them to take care of themselves and others.”


“I would like to learn more.”


“Always acknowledge the reason for fear. How to deal with conflict.”


“As a teacher I know now how to act with children who present problems. I know how to react and help the learners.”


“To teach with compassion and to teach compassion.”


“The future of humankind depends on our children being taught compassion for the defenceless.”


“Find the problem behind the behaviour of the child. Deal with that. Not the symptoms.”


“I know now that we are part of the solution for the future.”


“I have learned here how to handle a naughty child at my school and to think a bit deeper about why the child is like that.”


“Respect should also be given to animals. Please do visit our school in order to help us help the learners.”


“I will take with me that we should go with boldness into the schools even when we feel that we are rowing the Atlantic with a teaspoon.”


“A very interesting way of integrating Life Skills with other learning areas. Thank you.”


“I learned about the chain of violence that must be broken in order to teach children compassion and caring for others.”


“Let the child know you are on his/her side and understand them! And never ever raise your voice! Get to the background of everything.”


“I learned here how to deal with learners with different case studies especially those learners with bad behaviour in the class.”


“Rewarding. I need more.”


“I learned that people battle with personal fear and anxiety which has an effect on how they treat others.”


“I understand how to approach people, children and animals much better.”


“Not what I expected. Made me think! Enjoyed it.”


“The workshop opened my mind as a parent.  Because I’m dealing with a lot of it (bad behaviour).  I know better now how to deal with my kids at home.”


“Thank you. I enjoyed the workshop. I would like it to continue as I feel we did not cover enough regarding solving the problem of

assisting us to get adults and children to show respect for themselves, each other and animals. It is a long road. Please help.” 


“The workshop was very instructive. I have a lot more insight into how animals have the same needs and feelings as ourselves.” 




Brendan, Grade 10
“Humane Education gave me a new pair of eyes. Everything I look at now, I see differently. Nowadays I don’t throw stones at stray dogs anymore and I give that thief-cat that always hangs at our door, our left-over food. I don’t even swear so much anymore and I really feel proud about it.”

Hewston, Grade 10
“In what other subject do you learn to love, care and protect?”

Sinazo, Grade 8
“I used to beat my brother’s dog whenever it came into the house. I never played with it without hurting it. But now, when I think of those times it hurts me back.”

Aphiwe, Grade 8
“Humane Education has made a great impact on my life…

If you think about the time of apartheid here in South Africa and compare it to the life of dogs now, the difference is not great.”

Elton, Grade 10
“For me, Humane Education was a great and joyful programme. It made me into a better person.”

Allistair, Grade 10
“The other day I saw a cat being abused. Since the humane education classes, I know now what to do. I immediately went to the owner and spoke to him. He ended up apologising to me. I told him he should not ask for my forgiveness but for the cat’s forgiveness.”

Sinazo, Grade 8
“Humane Education has definitely made changes to my life. I remember just a few days ago, my neighbour was going to slaughter a chicken for his grandmother. He treated it like it had no feelings. I know that animals are food for us but they shouldn’t be treated like food while they are still alive.”


Dr Annelise Roos, EnviroVet CVC
“… Materials supplied, as well as interactive service are first class and we feel privileged to be associated with them (Humane Education).”

Esme Solomon – Remedial Teacher, Eerste River and Blackheath schools
“… I especially like the fact that the stories impart sound, humane values to the learners.”

Klipheuwel Primary School
“… What a wonderful collection of stories. They give our disadvantaged learners the confidence to talk about their experiences at home.”

Mrs R. Allie, Grade 6A educator, Fairview Primary School
“… Before you approached our school, my learners were unaware of the importance of animals in the community. They disregarded animals and the significance thereof. Our communities are infested with thoughts of using animals as a means to an end. Even I have come to realise how important they really are. Thank you for all you have done and will still be doing.”

Mrs Margot Kiewit, Principal, Die Duine Primary School
“… Our educators feel that they are blessed with such a good resource in order for them to educate the learners on the caring of pets… The text is learner friendly. Vocabulary is on the learners’ level. The stories are short. During an oral lesson most learners indicated that they would love to become veterinarians or work with animals.”

Dr Marc Walton, Veterinary Surgeon
“I came across all your work for educating school children about animal welfare while I was at a meeting on the Kayamandi project. Wow, outstanding! Well done!”

Vivienne Rutgers – A Teacher’s Testimony

“No-one seems to know where to turn to stem the tide of drugs, aggression, hard-heartedness and violence that bedevils so many societies today.

One heart-broken grandmother touched us all when she wept on radio recently and said: ‘These savage criminals are our sons and brothers and uncles. They are the same children we loved as babies.’
I do not have all the answers but I do know that in the two years I have been working with The Humane Education Trust and teaching humane education to the learners at my school, changes have taken place.
Two years ago the duck that found itself lost on our playing field recently, would have been taunted and pelted with stones. Instead the bigger boys carefully caught it and brought it to me to ask what to do. I could go on and on giving examples of behaviour that has changed and it goes beyond the school grounds. There is an awakening taking place in the community of Eerste River that is slowly but surely bringing a sense of dignity to all of us. People of colour were meant to regain their dignity once Apartheid was outlawed.

Let me tell you because I am in a position to know: Dignity is not skin deep. It begins in the heart and in today’s world, it is seeded by Humane Education.”

Vivienne Rutgers is pictured here with Phil Arkow, a leading world authority on the link between animal abuse and human violence. Arkow is the co-author of 'Child Abuse, Domestic Violence and Animal Abuse: Linking the Circles of Compassion for Prevention and Intervention.'

Esmé Solomon


Caring Kids collection of short stories

I rate the above collection “tops” for the following reasons:


  • Good use of language

  • Relevance

  • Clear, uncluttered illustrations

  • Informal teaching of great life skills and values

  • Promotes inclusive education


I work with learners who need support in reading, writing and numeracy. The Caring Kids collection is well-written and relevant to these learners’ frame of reference as a large percentage of them come from informal settlements where there are many sick and neglected animals. They therefore participate and become involved in each story and have the confidence to talk about their own experiences with animals.

I especially like the fact that the stories impart sound, humane values to the learners about animal rights and care without the learner feeling pressured to remember a lot of hard facts. Furthermore, the illustrations are excellent and learners enjoy “reading” the pictures before we even start on the text.

It is an advantage that the pictures are line drawings because they provide good colouring activities for the learner who understood and enjoyed the story but who cannot yet master the text, thus creating another opportunity for inclusive education.

As an additional activity to reinforce new vocabulary in each story I draw up word-search puzzles which the learners enjoy tremendously.

Thank you Humane Education Trust for an excellent collection!

Tony Austen
Principal, Golden Grove Primary and Pre-Primary School


On behalf of the Golden Grove community I would like to extend a warm and sincere thanks to you and The Humane Education Trust for your involvement in our school.

The Golden Grove learners are truly honoured to have the opportunity to interact and engage with you. Your lessons and literature are definitely of great benefit to them.

The learners in this Grade 7 class have also achieved the highest average of the three classes in their last Life Orientation assessment. They had to write an essay on their purpose in life and these learners generally managed to express themselves well on this topic. Your discussions and teaching have greatly contributed to their success.

Our teachers have also benefited from their workshops with Yossi Vissoker and they are looking forward to more opportunities to learn with Yossi. Their individual feedback on the evaluation forms will bear evidence of their appreciation of these most empowering sessions.

I trust that we can look forward to a long and mutually rewarding relationship. Our responsibility to our learners and their learning is always depended on the quality of partnership like the one between Golden Grove and The Humane Education Trust.

Yours sincerely,

Tony Austen
Principal, Golden Grove Primary and Pre-Primary School

Letter from EnviroVet CVC


To whom it may concern

This is to confirm that EnviroVet CVC is familiar with the work of the Humane Education Trust. The service that they offer towards the upliftment and education of school children, is unique in South Africa.

Materials supplied, as well as interactive service are first class and we feel privileged to be associated with them.

Kind regards,

Dr Annelize Roos
CVC Principal

Mrs R. Allie – Educator, Fairview Primary School


Firstly, I would to thank you for all the effort you have put into educating our learners in this humanitarian regard. Before you approached our school, my learners were unaware of the importance of animals in the community. They disregarded animals and the significance thereof. Our communities are infested with thoughts of using animals as a means to an end. Even I have come to realise how important they really are.

Thank you for the books and worksheets. We have worked through them in the second term already, and I found that learners enjoyed it thoroughly, because it is about things that they easily relate to. I was even able to use your book in a Formal Assessment Task.

Thank you once again for all you have done and will still be doing.

Mrs R. Allie
Grade 6A Educator at Fairview Primary School

Klipheuwel Primary


Heroes and Lionhearts / Caring Kids / Gooseberry

What a wonderful collection of stories! We like the clear illustrations and informal way to teach the pupils good language use. It gives our disadvantaged learners the confidence to talk about their experiences at home.

We like the activities and pupils enjoy it tremendously.

Humane Education Trust you’ve done an outstanding job. You get an outstanding ovation.

Klipheuwel Primary