Most people who leave prison face various challenges while trying to resettle back in the community. Monthly, the members of the Formerly Incarcerated Women Association (FIWA) meet to encourage one another socially and financially. This month’s meeting was held on Thursday 11th with the theme; Maintaining Strong And Healthy Relationships. The meeting was the first of a kind because it comprised the formerly incarcerated parents, fathers and mothers.
During devotions, Apostle Sunday Kafeero encouraged the parents not to give up on their faith in God for a better future. He added that the fact that they are out of prison should always be their testimony of God’s love and faithfulness towards them.
Francis Ssuubi, Wells of Hope Founder opened the meeting by sharing some of the problems children go through; which very often result from parents’ actions. He shared some of the testimonies from the children about how happy they felt since their parents’ release from prison; and he cautioned the parents to always seek counseling in case they face problems.
Pastor Paul Miiro from Makerere Full Gospel Church encouraged the parents to embrace forgiveness, love and reconciliation. He urged them to forgive themselves first, forgive those who put them in prison, love one another and reconcile with others in order to maintain strong and healthy relationships. He encouraged the parents to be more patient with others.
The parents also had a very interactive group session which was conducted by Marjorie Lunkuse Lwanga, Wells of Hope Deputy Executive Director.
Some of the challenges the formerly incarcerated parents face include: discrimination by the community, loss of jobs which they had got upon release (this is mainly due to rumors from people who do not wish them well and still blame them for the fact they were once in prison), being looked down by family, loss of relatives and friends, loss of their property, among other challenges.
The parents encouraged one another to seek God more through prayer, be empathetic, be more understanding, and communicate more in order to maintain healthy family relationships. They expressed their gratitude for supporting them and their families; “If it were not for Wells of Hope Ministries, I do not know where I and my family would be at the moment. It’s through the sewing skills which my wife acquired that she was able to get a job to support our children and also be able to bring me supplies while I was still in prison. To this very day, she still supports me in taking care of our family,” Hassan (not real name), a formerly incarcerated father said. He encouraged the other parents to be patient and be more understanding with their loved ones.