This week we will share three stories of transformation as a result of the Channels of Hope-Gender program.
Fred Sikine is the eldest son of a tribal chief in the Solomon Islands, and the natural heir to his father’s position as chief. But Fred’s wild lifestyle and his violence toward his wife and in his community put him in constant trouble with the law. His father disinherited him, declaring that his behavior made him unfit for a leadership role.
Fred attended a Channels of Hope-Gender workshop in 2011, mostly to prove to others that Channels of Hope was a western concept that didn’t respect Solomon Island culture. Instead, the workshops proved to him that it was his attitudes and behavior that were wrong.“Channels of Hope for Gender has not only changed my understanding of how men and women ought to relate, it has changed my entire lifestyle,” said Fred. His change was so dramatic, that his father reconsidered his earlier decision, saying, “I have observed the way that you treat your wife and children, and your respect for people in the community. When I go to be with my forefathers, you will sit as chief after me. I am convinced that the life that you are living will set a great example to young and old in this community.”
Fred’s cousin, Dennis, wondered what was changing Fred’s life so radically. Dennis’ lifestyle was similar to Fred’s—fighting with his wife, beating his children, and getting so drunk that he sometimes slept in alleys. His wife tried to share with him what she had learned in a Channels of Hope workshop, but Dennis says, “I was not giving her time to speak to me because I was a difficult person and problem husband.”
Dennis realized he needed to make changes in his life the night he saw his eldest son come home drunk and harass his mother and siblings. Dennis knew he had set a bad example for his family. “Right there, I understood that this was my fault.”
So he listened to his wife, Martha, and attended a Channels of Hope workshop that helped him see how he could treat his wife as an equal partner and still be a strong man. “Since that November day, my life has been changing,” says Dennis. He surprised his wife by cleaning the house, a task that is traditionally the responsibility of women. He is sharing the messages from Channels of Hope in his family and community. As he has become a better role model, he has seen his eldest son’s behavior change. His son is now one of the youth leaders in their church. Dennis’ marriage has also been rejuvenated, and he says with a smile, “I feel as if I got married yesterday.”