Helena 14 is one of those children, before she came to Wells of Hope, she was the head of the home, this happened after her mother murdered their father in cold blood. Helena and her sister Catherine 11 used to attend school in turns , because one of them would have to stay behind to care for their sickly sister Marias 6 and generally to care for the home and to cook their food.,this kind of situation could not sustain for a long time,so eventually they dropped out,it was at that instant that Wells of Hope was able to intervene.
Last Thursday, at a special party we held for the candidates, one of the girls Sylvia came forth to give a special vote of thanks, with tears in her eyes ,Sylvia said that when her father was imprisoned, her mother told her that she was going to stop in primary four and drop out because that was what she could afford. But with wells of Hope intervention her story changed, she has now gone up to primary seven and has a hope to reach university. Sylvia has two siblings and their father is on death row.
From research and from our own experience we have observed that Poverty and illiteracy have a strong link to crime, so by emphasizing education for children of incarcerated parents will not only lessen on the vulnerability of these children to evils like child sacrifice but also will lead to breaking the cycle of crime .
Here below are two excerpts from blogs by Rebecca Ginsburg and Sarah Roberts who participated in our study week on children of prisoners in September 2013.
”People without experience of life in a poor country might have trouble appreciating the extraordinary significance that being sent to school holds for those who are members of marginalized classes. For example, when I asked the 23 men (on deathrow) we met with, how many of them had completed primary school (up to age 12), only 4 raised their hands. Where schooling isn’t free, it’s common for children to drop out to contribute to the family’s income. Add to this the stigma of being the child of an incarcerated man. Family members and neighbors, to the extent they might be moved to assist, may be loathe to contribute to the education of someone considered a social menace. More often, I got the impression today, people intervene in the families’ lives in order to exploit their situation. We heard stories of children of incarcerated parents being made to act as unpaid labor to relatives, being beaten, and sold into slavery. Poor, outcaste children are so vulnerable. School offers both a haven and the promise of a stable future.” Rebecca Ginsburg Director, Education Justice Project University of Illinois .
"It might seem strange to have an entire school for the children of prisoners, but you only need to consider the alternatives (dropping out of school altogether; rejection by remaining family members and the community; child-headed households; risk of child sacrifice and witch craft; and, for girls, an increased risk of rape and, therefore, teenage pregnancy and often HIV / AIDS, too), and you quickly realise that this school is literally a lifesaver for many of the children. ……….. Wells of Hope Academy really is an extraordinary school; it is educating Uganda’s future leaders and, most importantly, it is creating children of hope." Sarah Roberts the Child & Family Support Manager with Families Outside Scotland
And When it was time for them to go home for their vacation, some children almost refused to go, and also some girls cried as they were saying farewell to each other, actually two girls hugged for long time and could not let go. It was a difficult moment to describe, all this was happening before my eyes , as I was trying to comprehend what was happening, a thought came of taking a picture but the real magical moment had gone away.Its one of those photos that we have not taken, they will be imprinted in our memories forever. All I can say is that What i saw a depiction of the power of love!
Thank you for your support that makes it possible to change lives of children of prisoners.