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In three year time, to improve the living condition in 7 Zambian prisons, especially addressed to mothers and circumstantial children.
Total Cost (EUR): 336 806
EU contracted amount (EUR): 300 000
Duration: December 2015 - December 2018
Implementing organisation: CENTRO LAICI ITALIANI PER LE MISSIONI ASSOCIAZIONE
Funding Instrument: European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR)
Benefitting zone: Zambia
Mr Arthur Muchimba, Assistant Superintendent and Deputy Officer-In-Charge of the Mazabuka Correctional Centre
Inmates form a largely unseen yet constantly present community; a community with unique and shared realities often unimaginable on the other side of the walls. Confined and separated from loved ones, familiar spaces, activities and routines, inmates experience a disruption that affects their lives even after release. In Zambia, inmates’ experiences are made worse by the poor state of prisons. Overcrowding, poor sanitation, nutrition and healthcare, and lack of education opportunities are just some of the challenges in the system.
Meet Lynn, 33, inmate in Mazabuka Correctionnal Centre
Lynn, 33, charged with possession of a live pangolin, has served four months of her five years sentence. She is a mother of a 10 month old baby who lives in the same cell. She says her experience is different from her idea of prison before. “This is the first time I have been in prison. I was here for about a few weeks when CeLIM came and taught the female section on cooking, health, nutrition, sanitation. It is from there that I got interested. Lynn says attending a week long programme on HIV/AIDS helped her look at it in a different way. “This was different because it empowered us to be encouraging to people that we are living with. "
“CeLIM gave us food and cleaning material. I cook porridge with my friends and we bring it to the males, females and the children.” Lynn, who came in with her child aged 10 months, said that even though she is supported by other inmates, it is quite tough as the baby is still young and hygiene is not good.
“I have learned that we have to support each other in prison so that we can survive, especially for those who are sick and can’t help themselves. It is sad that it is only coming from one organisation [CeLIM], because they are the only people I have seen coming through, apart from churches that come at weekends. These people have been running this programme like running a home, every day they are checking up on you and finding out how you are doing.”
Lynn says she did not expect the sense of community she experiences. “What I knew of prison was that if you are convicted of a crime, people don’t value your presence. But coming here, my views are different, I know that when I am sick, there is someone will come in the morning to find out how I feel.” She puts in practice what she learned in the health trainings. “In the female section, there is me and another colleague. Every morning when we wake up, we ask our friends who is not feeling well. For basic illnesses like diarrhoea, we provide medicines. You know that you are cared for even when you are in here,” she says. “Everyone here has hope, when the Magistrate court says that you are convicted of a crime, the first thing that comes to your mind is I am dead, my life is finished, and there is nothing else that I can do. It is different to what I thought before I came here.”
FACTS AND FIGURES