We are glad to children with parents in prison under Wells of Hope care received Woolworths clothes and shoes on 28th September 2018. The children were extremely happy after receiving their items; they expressed their excitement through shouts of joy and wide smiles. We thank Woolworths Uganda for their continued support for the children and their caregivers.
It’s such a joy to report that Camp David Uganda, the children’s Annual camp was held from 26th to 30th August 2018; and 135 children with parents in prison under Wells of Hope care participated. This year’s theme was “International Change Agents”.
On Sunday, Lukas Hogshooter, Benjamin and Grace Smith were warmly welcomed by the children; the children expressed their excitement with wide cheer, smiles and hugs. The Camp commenced with setting up the work areas for the different classes/sessions which were to be conducted from Monday to Thursday.
The children participated in teams according to their age groups; and the children comprised 8 groups which included: Jades, Pearls, Rubies, Crystals, Diamonds, Lions, Tigers and Panthers. This year, Marjorie Lunkuse, Wells of Hope Deputy Executive Director was the Camp Director, alongside Benjamin and Grace Smith. Lukas and Ellen Eva Ssuubi were the counselor coaches; they used to oversee the roles of the counselors, that is, the group heads. Some of the older children who were campers last year were counselors; they happily related with their friends and were able to utilize their leadership skills. The rest of the older children comprised the support staff; they helped in creating a conducive environment during camp for example, they did chores like cleaning, serving meals and assisting class leaders.
The classes conducted during camp included: sling shots, creation class, crafts, team building, games and dance class.
Daily, the children were engaged in a counseling session to help them cope with parental imprisonment; the session was conducted by Benjamin, who the children preferred to call Papa Big Heart.
During the camp, Benjamin conducted woodwork sessions with the male support staff. He taught the students how to make and play the carpet ball game (without the carpet); which they enjoyed playing.
Grace engaged the female support staff in sewing; she taught the girls how to sew dresses. We thank all sponsors and friends for the sewing machines which were donated.
Among the lessons learnt, the children learnt how to work together and appreciate God’s creation; they explored their skills in the crafts class through painting and bracelet making. They explored their skills in dancing as well.
Some of the main highlights during the camp included:
The birthday celebrations; the main hall was wonderfully decorated. Every group shared a birthday cake and every camper got a birthday present.
The children acquired skills in sewing and woodwork.
The shaving cream battle and Spy Adventure; the children and staff expressed immense joy as they played the games.
On the last day of the camp, the children made SMORE’S at campfires; every camper was awarded a certificate as a way of appreciating them for participating in the sessions.
We thank Ben and Grace Smith, and Lukas for their love and support for children with parents in prison. We thank everyone they worked with.
We are glad to report that Woolworths Uganda donated clothes and shoes to children with parents in prison (under Wells of Hope care) and their caregivers. The items were officially handed over by Sophie, Woolworths Uganda Country Director on 3rd September 2018.
We extend our sincere gratitude to Woolworths Uganda for their continued care and support towards children with parents in prison.
We are glad to report that 90 children visited their parents in on 2nd August 2018; and 4 children visited their parents for the first time. The children visited their parents in 5 prisons which included: Upper prison Luzira, Women prison Luzira, Jinja prison, Kitalya prison and Nakasongola prison. As always, the children were accompanied by Wells of Hope staff; the children were accompanied by Babirye from Makerere Full Gospel Church. The children were extremely happy to visit their parents again; they had last visited in April 2018.
The children were extremely happy and excited on their way to prison.
The children’s prison visits are some of the most precious moments cherished at Wells of Hope; families are reunited and through these visits, family bonding is enhanced.
Below are some of the highlights:
At Upper prison Luzira, a father said, “I thought after being imprisoned, it would be the end of my life but with organizations like Wells of Hope my hope was restored. I did not know that there are people out there who still care and are willing to help others even when they are not related to them.”
“I am so glad that my little girl is at Wells of Hope and is very happy, my mind is now at peace.” Blessing’s mother said after seeing her 5 year old daughter. Blessing had just joined Wells of Hope Junior School a week back, from the day care centre at the prison.
Other highlights during the visit included:
4 children were reunited with their parents in prison.
Vivian’s father was so happy to see her and welcomed her back from the States; it was such a joyous moment as he hugged her and congratulated her over and over.
Joshua Ocen’s father was pleased to share that he would be released in 40 days from then; he was so thankful to Wells of Hope for taking care of Joshua for all these years, and he shared that he would love to get involved in Wells of Hope by visiting the organization office and the schools.
The pupils from Wells of Hope Junior School happily presented a song to their parents; the parents gladly cheered on their children as they made the presentation.
Wells of Hope was gifted with trees.
The prison Officers thanked Wells of Hope Ministries for all efforts made to have the visit but also most importantly for taking care of children.
We thank Grace Community Church, USA which facilitated the visit.
Wells of Hope in partnership with University of Illinois and in collaboration with Uganda prisons services carried out a research on the Uganda reentry guide for two weeks from 16th to 27th July. The research was a combination of activities but majorly about visiting the service providers. These were organizations and companies believed to have services that would help the incarcerated members once they have been released.
The research team was headed by Rebecca Ginsburg, a professor at the University of Illinois, Johnny Paige, an American researcher and four Ugandans namely: Shiphrah, Brian, Godfrey and Charles; making a team of six researchers and Patricia from Wells of Hope who was the Ugandan coordinator. These were the people who would go out to visit different service providers and carry out interviews. The interviews were about finding out if these service providers would offer any services that the incarcerated people would use or need, for example how a person who has been released from prison can obtain a national ID, counseling services, among others.
Before the actual research began, there was training for the researchers on 16th July. It was led by Rebecca who oriented the researchers on how to conduct the interviews and how to approach the service providers. The researchers had to do play roles and read different handouts before they set out for the research; and they conducted the research in pairs.
A Reentry Advisory Committee was formed to help to evaluate the daily activities while the research was being conducted. This composed of service providers, formerly incarcerated people and well wishers. During the research, there was a general committee called the Reentry Guide Research Council which comprised church leaders UPS officials and different organization members. They met once to talk about progress so far and a way forward. They discussed about the places that were visited then and how to make the project sustainable without relying on the University of Illinois or Rebecca because funds were not enough to continue sustaining it for a long period.
Rebecca and Johnny interacted with inmates at Upper prison Luzira and Women prison Luzira to also give them an update on the guide. They all expressed their thoughts about the guide and said it was a promising project and they were hopeful that once it comes out it will be a good thing for the incarcerated members and their families.
Johnny encouraged them and motivated them that being in prison doesn’t mean that all hope is gone; that there is more to look out for. He told them that it’s them to change the people’s attitudes and perception about the people in prisons. He urged them to be good representatives for all incarcerated people. There were committees that were formed in both prisons and this was to make communication easy.
During the research, Rebecca interacted with the Commissioner General of Prisons Dr. Johnson Byabashaija; and she updated him about the progress of the research. The commissioner shared that Reentry is at the heart of every correctional institution. He said that there was a gap of reentry; and thanked Rebecca through the University of Illinois for helping Uganda get one.
We thank Rebecca Ginsburg, the University of Illinois, the Uganda Prisons Service, Jonny Paige, the entire research team and everyone who has come on board to help in the research about the Reentry Guide for Uganda