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Rites of Passage


Our rites of passage programmes are journeys of self-discovery where young people are guided through challenging processes that prepare them to move from childhood to young adulthood. We deliver four programme elements (Earth, Fire, Water and Air). These are awareness-raising workshops, adrenaline-pumping adventures and tests of character that lead to a community graduation.



The programmes are designed differently for young men and young women. The curriculum is designed by the organisation. It contains a detailed breakdown of the elements, the workshop content, techniques and processes required to deliver the programme.

All our programmes grapple with the big questions that define who we are. They look at the messages we constantly receive and how these impact on their lives. To ensure that development doesn’t just take place in the head, the young people learn Martial Arts or African Dance. These strengthen the physical body. They also encounter a number of carefully facilitated challenges that are tests of character for the individual and the group to accomplish.

Throughout the journey, the programme operates on different levels. At times, we work with the inner core (unconscious level) to develop a sense of purpose. We provide opportunities to listen to our internal voice that is constantly speaking to us but is blocked-out by distractions and all the noise around us. We also work on other layers of Self through at the conscious level. Here we’re working with our motivation, interests, concerns and issues.

We believe that all young people are gifted but they require a healthy environment for their gifts to be realised.

We work closely with parents to maximise the impact for the young people. By doing so it means that the programme is being delivered outside of the official programme times. We expect that what the young people are learning is applied at home as well as on the programme, which requires feedback from parents throughout the journey. Our programmes take approximately 1 year to complete. All the Brothers and Sisters that complete the programme become members of the community; otherwise known as The Village.

As a process, our programmes are like crossing a river using a suspension bridge made from rope. At first it appears strange, unstable and awkward but as your exposed to the elements and with each step, there is new knowledge and an increase in confidence. From the other side of the river it is possible to assess the extent of the distance travelled.

At New Initiatives, we don’t cross the bridge for young people. This is something they have to do for themselves.

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