Name calling and labelling sometimes are indicators that people are just joking with each other. But they can also be indicators of deeper relationship issues. We become very concerned when the name calling, and labeling is all that you hear, and people never call one another by their names.
The men who first began coming to the Keystone for Men project often labelled each other by where they came from such as “Syrian” or “Egyptian”. To us, it was an indicator of possible relationship issues. Further substantiating the possibility was the fact that after the Keystone for Men sessions ended, the men rarely had anything to do with each other. If two participants saw each other on the street, they would not stop and greet each other. If participants competed in sports together, once the event ended, they quickly left with very little interaction.
When the men started calling each other by their given names, we sensed the project was having an impact. When they started interacting in areas outside of the session, we felt even more progress was being made. An even more encouraging indicator of progress was when they started calling and checking on one another if someone was late to a session or didn’t show up at all.
But the greatest indicator of progress was when they started going to celebrations or events to show support and encouragement to one another. It was becoming very apparent that friendships were developing, and a sense of brotherhood was growing.
While those were the observations of the staff involved with the Keystone for Men project, there can be no greater confirmation than to hear it from the participants themselves:
One said: “I heard about Keystone through friends. They had registered a day before, and two days later I went. We were with trainers Hamza and Alaa from the very beginning. Hamza spoke with us about the problems within the community, and how to have the patience to solve them. These topics were relevant to me.”