In April this year, I was able to get a ReachUp! class of 33 students within the Kericho GK Women Prison in Keong’o, the class comprised of wardens and female prisoners who were to be released in 1 - 4 months.
It has been six months since I was deployed into my community as a DOT facilitator with a mission to empower and transform individuals’ lives. During this time I have been able to interact with people from different backgrounds and personalities. In my pursuit to mobilize participants for the ReachUp! class, I was able to get participants and the permission to train at the Kericho GK Women Prison in Keong’o.
The participants undertaking the ReachUp! program are 33 women in total aged between 18 and 45 years. Among the participants 22 of them are inmates while the remainder are wardens. The participants are inmates who are due for release in 1- 4 months’ time for minor crimes such as establishing illegal businesses or conducting illegal activities such as the sale of illicit brews and Bhang locally known as Motek and Taarifa respectively.
(Left) Assumpta Lishenga, Program Officer for Western/Nyanza speaks to the inmates (right) inmates provide entertainment during their graduation in July.
Facilitating this class has been exciting and motivating even though I initially feared for my safety even after several attempts by the guards to reassure me of my safety. This feeling of insecurity was mainly because of the uncertainty of the environment since I hadn’t been to a prison before. On the first day of training I noted that the inmates were also uncertain as they were closed off from answering questions or participating in class making it difficult to train them. However, after an icebreaker session that required the inmates to share their stories with the class they became more open and were more sociable.
It’s now week three and inmates are beaming with confidence and are yearning for more learning experiences. Teaching the ICT modules have been the easiest to facilitate so far which I owe to the participants’ dedication and self-motivation. They have also made my work easier since they are quick to grasp concepts, and are willing to work in groups making my work easier.
This group of participants has been a great inspiration to me with their willingness to learn by asking questions despite their lack of freedom and reduced opportunity. They have also shown an ability to learn, unlearn and re-learn concepts, encouraging me to continue facilitating them. These women want to make a difference and so far they have been committed to this program and are willing to apply the knowledge gained when they are released. I look forward to taking this new experience to new heights of changing lives and empowering these women. The gospel of DOT has been preached to other inmates who are waiting eagerly to join the class during the next intake.