Yesterday, a group of beneficiaries under the care of Wells of Hope Ministries, who included: formerly incarcerated women, foster parents and caregivers of children with a parent in prison were equipped with Financial Literacy skills to help them in advancing their economic activities and managing their income.
During the training session, they were reminded of having financial discipline, saving, investment, having the wisdom to manage finances wisely to benefit from the hard work and being positive towards work.
Agnes, one of the formerly incarcerated women shared after the training that she will use the skills to boost her saloon business and make it stronger than it was before.
On 19th Nov 2020, we received Atim Agnes and her two children; Liz aged 2.5years and Eid 6months, who was born in prison. The family was picked from the prison gate by the safe home social worker and driven to the safe home where they sought shelter. Prior to her arrest, Agnes owned and run a saloon in the outskirts of Kampala where she resided as well. Having lost her mother, the only relative she knew about in 2015, she resorted to staying alone and upon release she was unsure whether she would be able to find the house in which she was staying as she was initially renting it. While still living at the home, she was able to check out her home which she found no more but was lucky to find that her former neighbour was kind enough to keep her household and saloon items.
“If it was not for the Wells of Hope Women Safe Home, I was just going to beg on the street for some money to transport me to kaberamaido to look for a lady who my mother had told me about as being her friend to house me and my children. I don’t even know where she stays but I was going to just ask around” Agnes shared.
Considering that going to Kaberamaido was not the best alternative for Agnes to resettle easily in a community, we aided her get rent money to reignite her saloon business and be able to fend for her children. She happily transitioned from the safe home and is steadily settling in her home.
Yesterday, Mary who was then residing at the safe home was officially sent off to her family in Tororo. A few days before then she had made a maiden journey home which was to ascertain the possibility of her resettling in with her family members after four years of being away from them. She shared that she struggled to find her way home as several changes had been made on the way and when she finally found the home, she was welcomed amidst tears. Her family had heard that she was jailed and to them it automatically meant a death sentence. They had given up on her and were surprised to see that she finally came home.
Mary was gifted a sewing machine which was handed over by fellow formerly incarcerated women. They advised her to make good use of it and to avoid any situations that could lead her back to Prison.
The sewing machine would help Mary to make use of the tailoring skills she obtained during her re-entry journey at the Safe Home. She hoped to pursue tailoring to be able to sustain her and her son whom she had left in the village when she was sent to Prison.
Yesterday, the formerly incarcerated women were able to meet again after the long lapse due to the COVID outbreak. Having agreed that the Standard Operating procedures that would help to prevent the spread pf Corona virus would be met, the ladies convened once again to get the investment association moving again and to deliberate on a number of issues that they had faced during the lockdown.
10 of the 17 women that managed to attend the fellowship that day shared that a number of them had lost their jobs and used almost all the savings they had on themselves to cater for their families and now were looking forward to starting afresh. They sighted a slow progress in their day today activities, hiked food and transport prices and uncertainty of the new year. They as thus agreed that they would resume their investment saving scheme in January 2021 when they hoped that things will have improved greatly.
The ladies also agreed that come 15th Dec 2020, they would celebrate their Christmas party as well as elect the executive committee for the change of office for the year 2021.
After imprisonment, it is usually difficult for people who have left prison to resettle back in the community, especially women. They are stigmatized by the society and as a result many are forced to flee from the place they thought would be home. Due to such circumstances, most have been left jobless. Those adhering to Anti-Retroviral drugs now find it difficult to access health centres in order to obtain medication because of the hike in transport fares due to the current situation (COVID-19); public means now are permitted to transport half the capacity before the pandemic broke out.
Rhitah is one of the women who is a former resident at the Wells of Hope Women Safe Home. She’s extremely grateful for the support she’s getting from Wells of Hope Ministries; “With the start-up I got, I was able to start a salon; I bought salon materials; and I was able to start another Income Generating Activity for my husband,” Rhitah shared with a Social Worker. Rhitah’s husband was also in prison and was reunited with his family 4 months back; we intervened and offered legal Aid for him to be acquitted of the charges by hiring a lawyer on his behalf. Rhitah’s husband now sells fish to earn a living.
Before joining the Home, Rhitah expressed her worry about how life outside prison was going to be like. She’s now happy and hopeful for a brighter future! She said that the food supplements she gets help them so much and that they are now healthy and are able to carry on with their activities. Rhitah is also training the children at Wells of Hope in hairdressing, manicure and pedicure.
We thank all our sponsors for their continued support towards the inmates, the formerly incarcerated and their families!