Inmates at the Nakuru Women’s Prison will make this year’s Valentine’s Day in style.
A Nakuru based Community Based Organization that deals with offering psychosocial support is behind the idea. The Psychiatric Disability Organisation of Kenya (PDO) in partnership with other organizations and individuals have teamed up together to make the day a success.
“The Valentine’s Day is one of the saddest days in the life of a female inmate,” says Mr. Iregi Mwenja the CEO and founder of PDO.
Since the beginning of 2017, the organization has been offering psychosocial support to the inmates at the women prison.
“Most of these inmates get abandoned by their loved ones the moment they are arrested or sentenced. It’s very rare to see their husbands or boyfriends coming to see them while they are in prison,” reveals Iregi adding that this causes the prisoners to feel abandoned and causes them to lose their self-esteem, confidence and drive in life.
“We have been coming to the prison regularly since last year. We provide counselling and a listening ear to the inmates and help in getting them re-accepted back into the society after their release,” says Iregi.
The Nakuru Women’s Prison Beauty contest and talent show will be held on Friday the 16th of February. The event is not so much of a competition but an opportunity to make the women feel they are still part of the society.
“We have planned many fun activities for that day. Modelling, dancing, singing and exchanging of gifts are few of the activities on that day,” reveals Iregi.
The event will bring together the prisoners, their families, residents and the prison warden.
“We are really looking forward to the event and are encouraging the wardens to fully participate,” says Ms Emily Momanyi the officer in charge of the institution.
Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Emily Momanyi says the day will also help the society understand some of the challenges they face as a prison.
“Many people don’t know that some of these mothers are here with their children. Currently, we have 25 children all under the age of four (4), ” reveals the SSP.
She adds that one of the greatest challenges they face of providing a healthy balanced diet for the children as there is usually no special allocation for children.
“Everything we receive is for the prisoners. We are forced to go out of our ways to cater for the children and normally depend on well-wishers donations to provide milk for the children,” she says.
Other special needs for the children include beddings, clothing, nutritional foods and diapers.
The organisers and hoping that on the day of the Valentine’s Day event, well-wishers will provide for these needs and impact positively on the prisoners.
“The inmates are looking forward to a change of diet, interacting with residents, looking beautiful and generally having fun,” says Iregi.
To make the day a success, students from Ashley’s Beauty college and Rift Valley Institute of Business Studies have volunteered to make the ladies look beautiful.
“The schools have allowed their beauty students to offer beauty services. What we are now looking for is someone who can provide us with the beauty items,” he says.
The organisers are also hoping to get food donations to prepare a buffet for that day, refreshments, flowers and toiletries.
“Am sure the day will be a huge success. The inmates are ecstatic and I believe the society will come out in huge numbers to make it happen,” says Iregi as he and his team continue with the preparations.