Former inmates of Chichiri prison are taking part in a project aimed at sensitizing communities on the dangers of criminal activities.
This is done through Arts and with funding from the Centre for Human Rights Education, Advice and Assistance CHREAA.
The project seeks to keep former convicts busy and provide them with a way to earn a living.
“They are using drama to educate people.” Executive Director for CHREAA Victor Mhango Said.
Mhango notes that former inmates suffer post-imprisonment poverty as having a criminal record makes it hard for them to find work and access many basic social programmes.
The program also serves to demonstrate that prisons are places of reformation and not punishment hence using the former-convicts to as community mentors.
In most cases former inmates tend to revert to crime once they are reintroduced into the society due to among other factors a lack of economic activities that can help them sustain themselves/
It is for such a reason that CHREAA has come up with the initiative towards rebuilding the lives of ex-convicts.
On the other hand there is also a national problem of increased crime which is also contributing to congestion in the country’s reformatory centers.
According to Mhango it is practical and effective to use people that have lived a life of crime and faced conviction to advocate for a crime free society.
“This will help curb crime because it’s coming from the horse’s mouth, these are people who were arrested and served jail sentences, they are actually telling people what happed to them, so people can actually listen to them than to me.” Mhango said
Apart from using drama to sensitize communities on the dangers of crime, the former inmates is also engages in environmental conservation.
“They are also engaged in another project to do with forest conservation they based in Mulanje, they are doing campaigns in district around Mulanje Mountain.” Mhango added.
CHREAA is an organisation that promotes and protects human rights by assisting vulnerable and marginalised people in the country to access justice through civic education, advocacy, legal advice and assistance.