The prison in Arba Minch was built in the 1960s for some 1,200 prisoners. It has now a population of over 2,000, a large percentage of whom are in their early twenties and have not completed primary education. When we first visited the prison, the living condition of the prisoners was very poor.
Situating all in a Christian context, we see our role as making the prison more conducive to prisoners’ growth and healing, and we are reminded that in scripture the nearest to our Lord in His suffering were prisoners, one of whom He could on his cross console with a promise of freedom. In Matthew 25, visiting the prisoner is as if we are visiting the Lord – an expected criterion of Christian behaviour; not a word about guilt and innocence.
So far we have accomplished the following:
- Prison school upgrade: provision of desks, benches and blackboards
- Installation of a water system to serve the school and a fibreglass tank to increase the availability of water to the male prison
- Support for income-generating activities for 17 prisoners living with HIV/AIDS
- Refurbishment and purchase of books for the prison library
- Construction of the toilet/shower block for female prisoners
- Provision of bunk beds, mattresses & mosquito nets for all female prisoners and their children and an improved ventilation system in the male and female dormitories
- Promoted income-generating projects by female prisoners
- The donation of 5 Singer sewing machines & materials to support the income-generating activities of 5 female prisoners
Please click here to read an article on this written by Fr Paddy Moran CSSp
… come back soon.