At the Music Crossroads Centre here in Lilongwe there are a number of projects running, and among them is the Young in Prison programme. The programme (YiP) has been active in Malawi since 2009, and is now up and running at three different locations throughout the country; Kachere, Bzyanzi, and Mzuzu Reformatory Centers.
Youth empowerment though the arts, is a key sentence to the programme`s philosophy. YiP focuses on giving the juveniles a successful reintegration into society by using creativity to work on obtaining life skills, essential to life outside the prison. On the ground work mainly consists of creative workshops expanding from acoustic music, choir, dance and drama, to fine art, tailoring and fishnet making. In addition to the reintegration programme applied through the workshops, YiP also offers a mentoring and a post release programme to a group of selected, motivated children.
As a volunteer on this programme, I get to go to Kachere Reformatory Centre twice a week to assist facilitating and to conduct workshops. I work closely with the juveniles, teaching a variety of music skills as well as implementing life skills such as teamwork, patience, stress management and self-esteem. Working on this project can be tough considering ones workplace, but it is also very rewarding.
Young in Prison is a Dutch NGO (non governmental organization) founded by college student Noa Lodeizen in February 2002. During a visit Pollsmoor Prison in South Africa, she witnessed that many juvenile prisoners were not receiving the special attention that juveniles need. Later on, this led her to establish YiP to offer a reintegration programme to juvenile prisoners. Now, 10 years later, Young in Prison is active in three countries; South Africa, Colombia and Malawi.
″Young in Prison works according to the principle that all youths deserve a second chance, also those that have found themselves in prison.″
If you find this project interesting, I strongly recommend that you check out their web-page at:
or on facebook at: