Renovated computer lab in Mukobeko Maximum Security Correctional Centre
Thanks to generous helpers (including the Obel Family Foundation, Seniors without Borders and Recycling for South), we were able to renovate the IT lab in Mukobeko. We have had a computer lab since 2013 in this facility, but recently we found a better space for it in the workshop area. Before it was situated in a very small space in the library, but after repairing and renovating the space in the workshop we now have an airy and nice space for the IT lessons.
A couple of hundred inmates every year take basic schooling in Mukobeko, and many are on the waiting list. Part of the Zambian schooling curriculum for 8th and 9th grade include computer science. With this It lab, students are now able to get actual experience and knowhow in IT, which not only provides them with important knowledge, but also hope for a better future. Typically, about 90 inmates a year get certificates based on the training in the IT lab.
We are therefore very pleased that we are able to support education and reintegration through IT lessons for the inmates, who do their 8th and 9th grade schooling in prison. It iis hard to under-estimate the importance of education in the prison environment. It means real hope for a future, motivation to get up in the morning, not to mention actual skills.
We don't usually ask for any kind of 'advertising', but the centre decided to paint our logo on the wall. Looks good! Thank you!
Gardens in Chainama
Ubumi started working in Chainama Mental Hospital - the department for mentally ill inmates. We have approximately 100+ inmates here, both men and women. We provide nutritional supplements for 15-20 patients, who are typically suffering from HIV or other serious illnesses, which require an improved diet to keep them alive and healthy.
We have started a vegetable garden to support a more sustainable and cost-efficient way of providing food for the patients. It is well underway, as we see on the picture.
A clinic in Chipata Correctional Facility
Ubumi has recently sourced funds to build a clinic to help the inmates in Chipata Correctional Facility. The facility had a clinical officer, but no clinic or examination rooms, meaning that inmates could not be examined in private or have confidential conversations about their health. The seriously ill patients, needing round the clock care could not receive it, and were left to their own devices in overcrowded cells in unhygienic and very uncomfortable surroundings.
Now we will have a small clinic and sick bay, where we can care for the most vulnerable. We will ensure they get food and care as any patient should.
The building is well underway - and soon we will be able to admit patients.
We are thankful to Chipata Correctional Facility for their commitment and efficiency and to NZP+ Chipata Chapter for their hard work.
The Commissioner General, honourable mr Percy Chato, visited Chipata Correctional Facility in March 2018 to celebrate the official opening of the renovated kitchen, the Play House for the circumstantial children and the computer lab for the betterment of the education of inmates. A wonderful ceremony was conducted with dancers from inside and outside prison, speeches and a tour of the facility, where the Officer in Charge, Mr Mumbuwa could exhibit not only the new structures, but also the large scale vegetable gardens, poultry and fish projects for the feeding the patients, juveniles and circumstantial children. The hard work of the inmate volunteers was also honoured.
It was a special day of celebrations and everyone felt the overwhelming support of the Commissioner General for the hard work shown by this correctional facility to improve the health and lives of inmates and their children.
In March we donated items, such as mattresses, wheel chairs, computers and other items for Mukobeko Maximum Security Correctional Facility. The project in Mukobeko was our first project for the seriously ill patients, and our work has reduced the number of deaths significantly and improved health overall. It was a special day of celebrations, where the facility management was honoured for their commitment and inmate volunteers were honoured for their hard work and their responsibility for the success of the Ubumi projects. Mukobeko holds a special place in our hearts, and we - Ubumi staff - were so happy to see the ceremony that the facility had put together in celebration of our work. Regional Commander Mr. Mbao held an engaging speech about changing lives from the better by working from the heart. Ubumi's executive director spoke of how she had struggled to find the funds for the food for the patients in back in 2013, and how she'd promise to fight for securing the funds to help.
We have one of our best projects in this facility, where we have extremely skilled and committed volunteers, some back from the very beginning of the project. The volunteer inmates work hard every day to secure the wellbeing and care of our sick patients. They cook, clean, feed, secure adherence to medication, work as gardeners and chicken rearers - all in support of the patients.
It was also a pleasure for Ubumi to donate several computers for the existing IT lab. The lab has since been moved to a different section of the prison, and the large room has been refurbished and painted to create the best possible learning environment. At their own initiative the facility has painted a large and beautiful picture of our logo on the wall. They do not need to showcase us in that way - but they did, and we appreciate the effort - also because it shows their commitment and ownership of the projects.
The cholera outbreak in Lusaka has reached 3456 cumulative cases and has sadly cost 70 people their lives. We are however very pleased to report that so far we have managed to secure the prisons. In close collaboration with correctional services, we have made use of our usual emergency preparedness routines (hygiene measures, such as detergents, chlorine, gloves, face masks, treatment availability), but enforced them with extra water drums for clean (chlorinated) drinking water and hand washing.
We have ensured water treatment and hygiene measures in all correctional facilities in Lusaka and further in Mpima, Kabwe and 'our' other correctional facilities. Cholera outbreaks in prisons would be a disaster, as overcrowding is extreme and general health is so poor. We are not safe yet, but the health authorities are now reporting to have curbed the infection rate. We pray the prisons stay safe. Congratulations to Zambia Correctional Services for taking on this issue on with great dedication. Let's keep it up, until we are safe again.