Helping Formerly Incarcerated Women Resettle Back In Their Communities

The women safe home has been a hub of activities lately; ranging from admitting new residents, starting up activities for the women at the home, skills development, having counselling sessions and linking them to their families for reintegration among others.

Residents at the home

Two of the residents that joined the safe home in September were able to go back to their families:

Deborah, who spent a year and a half found her 14-year old daughters had been married off by their father and she ably got them out of the marriages, resumed her work and has since settled successfully. She has promised to come back and pay the home a courtesy visit soon and also intends to join the Formerly Incarcerated Women Association.

Eseza, however met with a number of challenges in her reintegration process. She found out a case had been opened against her by the family that had remained with her children accusing her of child neglect in 2017, as they thought she had left prison already and was just hiding away from the children. With the help of the district probation officer who we contacted through the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development, she was able to see her children who were already put in foster care and being schooled with one Non-Governmental Organisation back in the district.

Eseza has since then been moving from family to family but has not received proper acceptance and says she failed to fit in with her once friends that she was living with since childhood. She lost contact with her family when she was a young child so she has spent all her life living with one friend after the other except for when she was married. Eseza has since returned to the safe home and says she wishes to find a job in Kampala that will earn her a living to save up some money to go start up an economic activity in her village

One other resident, Carol who joined the home solely for shelter as she saves up money to be able to get a house of her own is in plans of moving. She was fortunate to have gotten a job after release and has been saving up money for the primary cause. She is so happy that she was taken in by the safe home as she wouldn’t know what or where she would have gone other than roaming on the streets. She has offered to impart the skills she was able to learn in and out of prison to the fellow formerly incarcerated women to be able to earn themselves a living. She is also very interested in joining the Formerly Incarcerated Women Association.

During the month, we also had two women that we helped to resettle. These were reunited with their families immediately upon release as they were encouraged to forgive and consult their families whom they had sworn not to go back to.

Formerly Incarcerated Women Association.

The association so far constitutes 12 members; they’re committed and loving the work it’s doing for them. Together with Monica, a volunteer, we were visited one of the women that who has benefitted from the association; she was able to start up a fruit stall which she is currently managing with her daughter who is also part of the association.

Through the trade, they are able to get enough money to sustain the children under their care including one four-year-old who was born in prison and brought to them when the mother was finally released as she could not take care of the child herself.

During their monthly meet up, the women learnt how to make liquid soap and many showed interest in taking it on as a source of income.

Plans are underway to sell the soap as the product of the formerly incarcerated women association and the proceeds will go to the association treasury.

In the month of November, we expect three (3) women that will be joining the home from Luzira and Jinja Prisons.

“….through the annual visits at school, I was reunited with my dad”

Children need the loving support of their parents; even apparent behind bars. Children want to know they’re not forgotten because they haven’t forgotten their parents. Prison visits are one of the key activities at Wells of Hope; not only are families reunited, but they also enhance family bonding.

We are glad to report that on October 29th, 74 children visited their parents in 6 prisons namely; Upper prison Luzira, Women prison Luzira, Jinja prison, Kitalya prison, Murchison bay and Nakasongola prison. This was the last visit for this year, before the long Christmas break. The excitement shown by the children was inexplicable!!!

Upon arrival at the prisons, the parents were as eager as the children to meet again. The parents and the children happily interacted. The parents expressed their delight as they attentively listened to their children who joyfully shared about what had transpired during the holidays and the school term. Later, the parents shared a lovely meal, which they had prepared with their children.

During the visit, the teachers, who had accompanied the children engaged the parents in a one-on-one parent-teacher meeting where they updated the parents about their children’s academic and social progress. The parents were thrilled to see their children greatly improving in their studies; some carried their children and others exchanged hugs with them. The parents also encouraged their children to treasure their studies, respect their elders and above all, to always seek God for knowledge, wisdom and guidance.

“After my dad was imprisoned, it’s only our uncle who could visit him because my relatives couldn’t afford to transport me and my siblings to visit. But through the annual visits at school, I was reunited with my dad,” testified Joshua 17 years. He joined Wells of Hope in 2010.

Wells of Hope is extremely grateful to Grace Fellowship Duarte for facilitating all the children’s prison visits this year.

Embracing Good Personal Hygiene Among Children

We are glad to inform you that through the scouts club, the children’s confidence has greatly improved. On October 19th, the children were taught about personal hygiene. Mr Ssebandeke from Uganda Scouts Association defined personal hygiene as the general cleanliness of the body. He went ahead to examine their finger nails hair, oral hygiene, dressing and oral health. He commended the children for maintaining good personal hygiene. He shared with them that poor hygiene causes diseases like diarrhoea.

Children: Unseen Victims Of The Death Penalty

When a parent is put behind bars, the family left behind suffers a lot. For inmates sentenced to death, it’s worse because they lose all hope of ever meeting their loved ones. Very often, children are never considered during sentencing. During family visits, it’s very common that children have no idea about their parents in prison; some grow up believing that their parents either passed away in prison or intentionally abandoned them.

Foundation for Human Rights Initiative in partnership with Wells of Hope Ministries conducted the 17th commemoration of the World Day Against the Death Penalty (WDADP) at their office premises.

Francis Ssuubi, Wells of Hope Ministries founder shared about how the death penalty affects children and requested government to intervene.

Children need access to information about their parents incarceration

Francis Ssuubi, Wells of Hope Ministries Founder

The children shared their plight through art, poems and a very emotional talk show; and they conveyed a special request to the president to abolish the death penalty while kneeling.

Talk-show: Wells of Hope TV
Wells of Hope children presenting a poem

We thank Foundation for Human Rights Initiative for their continued support to advocate for the children. We thank all stakeholders who have joined this cause.