RWANDA: Church Launches Inmates Empowerment Programme

RUHENGERI, FEBRUARY 8, 2019 (CISA)– The Catholic Diocese of Byumba, in liaison with the Rwanda Correctional Services (RCS), and OXFAM International has launched a three-year project that seeks to empower women and juvenile inmates economically in the pre-and post-release process.

“All that we need is that people live in harmony by helping each other in their day-to-day lifestyle as the gospel asks us, we want this project to help people respect the virtues which promote social cohesion not only in the prisons but also within our families,” said Bishop Servilien  Nzakamwita of the Catholic Diocese of Byumba.

He disclosed that the project focuses on women and juveniles because they face hardship in reintegrating into their families after serving their sentences

The project launched for Musanze and Nyagatare Juvenile Prisons was officially unveiled February 5 at Musanze Prison and will be funded by OXFAM International.

Through the scheme dubbed, “Rwanda Market Oriented Programme”, the project targets 2,500 inmates and will be dealing with inmates’ psycho-social support as well as providing them with hands-on skills while in prison. s.

Two vocational training centres for tailoring and dressing were unveiled at Musanze Prison to train female inmates on hands-on skills, while juvenile inmates from Nyagatare Prison will be taught welding, haircutting, carpentry, and construction.

Oxfam International country director Alice Anukur said the organization was sponsoring the project as it is crucial to National Strategy for Transformation (NST) as well as to Vision 2020.

“Oxfam supported this pilot phase for six months and is working with partners to raise additional funds to scale up the project in Musanze and Nyagatare prisons as well as surrounding communities,” she said.

The Minister for Justice and Attorney General, Johnston Busingye, reiterated the Government’s commitment to have the country free of crime and urged inmates to showcase good behaviour so as to contribute toward the country’s development.

“The project isn’t there to only provide you with vocational skills; it is also there to transform your livelihoods,” he told the inmates.