Lifeline for Byo ex-prisoners

This emerged during a drug and substance abuse awareness campaign held in Queenspark in Bulawayo recently organised by the Noah's Ark Ministries.

A NON-GOVERNMENTAL organisation, Inside Out Development Trust, has embarked on a programme that seeks to rehabilitate ex-prisoners soon after they are released from jail to start projects to stop them from engaging in criminal activities including indulging in drug and substance abuse.

This emerged during a drug and substance abuse awareness campaign held in Queenspark in Bulawayo recently organised by the Noah's Ark Ministries.

Inside Out Development Trust was also part of the event where it declared its interest to assist ex-prisoners to properly integrate into society after they are released from jail.

Zimbabwe has seen an upsurge in cases of drug and substance abuse and crime resulting in government and various stakeholders escalating efforts to curb the vices.

Inside Out Development Trust director Clarence Gurura told Southern Eye in an interview that his organisation was catering for the ex-prisoners for them not to return to crime.

“The Inside Out Development Trust aims to provide rehabilitation to correctional services through arts, motivational speaking, workshops facilitated by dialogue and community and providing practical life skills to inmates and ex-inmates,” he said.

Gurura said the organisation was working with communities in order for the ex-inmates to be welcomed back to communities.

“As an organisation, every September, we actively participate and help the Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services organise the family week where inmates interact with their families in an endeavour to foster family bonding and bridging the prison community gap,” he said.

Gurura said the organisation also sought to empower the former inmates to have a better life while boosting their hopes to achieve greater things.

“We identify talent, nurture it and host the inmates’ arts gala. All participants who participate are awarded prizes and those who excel are given recording contracts,” he said.

Two ex-prisoners, Mthokozisi Jethro Gumede and Webster Nhundu, participated at the event.

Gumede said the trust helped him to desist from taking drugs and focus on rebuilding his life.

“I am to partake in the drug awareness programme to support and show to the community that one can come out of prison and live well within the community.

“I encourage the youths to desist from (taking) drugs as they influence one to commit crime as they enhance and give confidence to commit wrong deeds,” he said.

Gumede said he was arrested and spent 20 years in Khami Prison after he committed the offence under the influence of drugs.

“The organisation has made me realise that I'm an artiste. I am now a leader of a music group and I want to focus on producing music,” he said.

Nhundu said the organisation was helpful to him during his time in prison and even after his release in 2022.

“Gurura has been helping me since I was released from prison and at times he manages to find some piece jobs for me to survive. He always pay me visits.

“He has encouraged me to continue enhancing my script writing talent and acting.

“I wish to have more funding so that I can survive and have a better life,” he said.

Noah's Ark Ministries representative Febbie Chuma advised the community to shun drugs, warning church leaders to stop being involved in drug dealing.

“There are some churches in our community and pastors who benefit from those drug activities and we will be working with the police to end such unruly behaviour.

“We are also encouraging our youths to desist from taking drugs and other dangerous substances that could harm their health,” she said.

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