When the women are released from prison, the main thing they want is to reunite with their families and most especially their children. They as thus would want to settle in with them and re-live their lives as they were before they were incarcerated; things however did not turn out right for Claire and Annette who thought just because their family members were there for them while they were in prison they would have an easy reintegration period. They however faced segregation, and stigma once they reached the community.
Having spent three years and seven months in prison; Annette lost her taste for normal food. Her constant failure to enjoy the food at her sister’s place was not appreciated as it was considered wasteful. She on several occasions found her sister complaining to her husband about it, which made her feel a bother. She moved from home to home and in all of them, she was not well appreciated.
“While I was leaving the prison, I honestly felt so ready and prepared for the outside world, but I was mistaken; what I expected is far different from what I experienced the moment I stepped out!”
Annette and Claire had heard about the Wells of Hope Women Safe Home while in prison during the Re-entry meetings. They had as well kept the Safe Home number and when things did not turn out as they expected, they called the Home; to visit and talk about their re-entry challenges and specifically with people that understand their plight.
They were taken through counselling and advised on how best to live through societal expectations post incarceration. The ladies were in agreement that upon release, they have served enough punishment for whatever did not go well and the last thing that they need is another punishment that society serves them when they expect freedom.
One of the former residents at the home that had a sick child was referred to an organisation that reaches out to disabled children called Disabled Child Uganda. The organisation has offered to cater for the child to get better, given them accommodation and start-up capital for the mother to start up a trade that can help her to effectively settle in the community.
The family has since moved from the place they had stayed at since they left the safe home in January, to the Disabled Child Uganda headquarters.
Today, we had gate pick up for four women from Luzira Prison to the Safe Home; Precious, Justine, Alice and Ritah. Rose and Ritah are both mothers that gave birth from prison. Justine and Alice needed help to reach their homes which are within Kampala and we drove them to their homes. They were able to reunite with their families that they were unable to contact while they were still in prison.
Precious, was originally from mukono; had not contacted her brother with whom she was staying before going to prison and was unsure he was still at the same address. She was unable to reach him on phone and was helped with transport to travel to her village in kabale after the COVID restriction was lifted off public transport moving to the district.
Ritah is still at the home, we were able to go to the place she was renting to ascertain if she could still stay there with her two months old baby. The house had however been rented out and she awaits for travel restrictions to be lifted in Kyotera, her home town to be able to transition from the home to be with her sister as she awaits for her husband who is still serving jail term.
It was a glorious day today as we hosted a celebrated Gospel Singer Florence Rukundo who inspired the girls especially Rose and Angel who are upcoming gospel singers. We also celebrated the birth days of two of the girls and also commenced birthday celebrations for Florence herself. It was all fun in the house. The cake was made by the girls themselves.
Florence encouraged the girls to remain focused, to work hard and to accentuate the positive and to believe in God and to believe in their potential to excel. She also provided advice on the songs the girls have written. She promised to mentor them!
Today, Ellen Eva, Wells of Hope team leader and Apostle Sunday Kafeero, Wells of Hope volunteer have delivered 6 bags of high protein nutritious porridge and I bag of silver fish to more than 500 inmates living with HIV & AIDS at Upper prison Luzira. The supplements were received by the Senior Welfare Officer, Upper Prison who has on behalf of Uganda Prisons Service and the inmates appreciated Wells of Hope and all our partners who are keeping the inmates living with HIV with hope of living even during this difficult time of COVID – 19 when they’re not getting any visitors.
According to the reports from prison, the number of inmates living with HIV is increasing and the inmates are not receiving any visitors at the moment.
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