Zimbabwe: Znnp+ Gives Lifeline to Jailbirds

9 January 2020

The Zimbabwe National Network of People Living with HIV (ZNNP+) has partnered the Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services here in the rehabilitation of inmates through the provision of starter packs that will enable them to embark on various projects upon their release.

Recently, two inmates at Bindura Prison --Laxon Munaki (30) and Madhau Kakono (64) -- who completed their sentences, went home with an electric shaver and two rabbits, respectively.

Munaki was running a barber shop during his time in prison, while Kakono was involved in rabbit rearing.

Guest of honour at the handover ceremony Superintendent Matifadza Chanetsa said the starter packs were a starting point for the inmates to get back on their feet when they returned to society.

"This is an opportunity for them to embark on a new journey with the support of the society," he said.

"We call on society to embrace them, show them love and fill the gap so that the inmates can play a meaningful role in our society."

ZPCS Bindura has various rehabilitation programmes meant to empower inmates and prevent them from relapsing.

ZPCS projects coordinator Mr Gift Matimati said the programme was launched in 2016 in response to a plough back donation of US$750 from ZNNP+.

"The major focus of the funds was nutrition and health of people living with HIV in prison. We used the money to start a tuckshop and the project grew," said Mr Matimati.

"We expanded into a barber shop, shoe repair, car wash and tyre mending. The projects gave us substantial amounts. Our clients came from the provincial hospital, surrounding low-density suburb and other places in Bindura.

"ZNNP+ requested that we pass on funds to other prison centres in Mash Central and currently we have opened a tuckshop at Mt Darwin prison."

ZNNP+ district advocacy officer Ms Susan Marunga said the project was the brainchild of a support group called 2030 and Beyond.

"It all started when we mobilised resources for a prison day in 2001. This programme is meant to ensure that inmates can fend for themselves when they are released," she said.

Munaki, who was serving two years for theft, said he managed to rediscover himself while in prison.

The married father of three from Mhondoro said he acquired haircutting skills and wants to set up a barber shop as soon as possible.

Kakono said he was determined to see the rabbits multiply.

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