BALAK: There wasjoy last of last Friday whenPrison Fellowship graduated 53ex-prisoners (residents) in various vocational skills ranging from carpentry, tailoring, and electrical installation among others at its Balaka half-way house.
Speaking after she presented certificates to the graduates, Chief Commissioner at the Malawi Prison Services, Mwandika Phiri, urged the graduating students who are ex-prisoners to go out and be change agents.
She said as Malawi Prison Service, they embrace the services that the prison fellowship through its half-way house is providing to ex-prisoners.
Said Phiri: As you are graduating today, I urge each one of you to go out there and be change agents, being in prison does not mean the end of everything but another chance of reconnecting with God.
“Use the knowledge you have acquired to change your lives out there, of course the journey will not be easy for there are also equally knowledgeable people out there with skills that you have acquired here, but all I can urge you is to be extra exceptional for you to outstand.
According to Phiri, the half way concept will go a long way in making an impact to many ex-prisoners as it seals to advance the reintegration of the community in skills, vocational as well as spiritual.
On his part Executive Director for the half-way house, Rodrick Zalimba concurred with Phiri by appealing to the ex-prisoners graduating to be agents of change.
According to Zalimba, the residents have been fully prepared to withstand different stigma that they will meet out there.
We are looking forward to you men and women graduating today to contribute to the development of the country through the various skills you have acquired during your stay at this place, ” she said.
According to Zalimba, the society needs to embrace and welcome the ex-prisoners without stigma.
The half-way house has managed to empower over 400 ex inmates with various skills, since the start of the program in January 2005,” he added.
In an interview to one of the graduating student Richard Katembere who graduated in electrical installation said, he was lucky to be considered for the trainings amongst the many prisoners.
I am so ready now to go out there and put in practice what I have learnt here, I am also thankful to authorities at this place for the wonderful stay that I have had here, I am looking forward to a changed life out there,” he said.
Prison fellowship incorporates selected prisoners from different prisons, who are due to complete their jail sentence, for various vocational skills.
Source: Malawi News Agency MANA