That man on death row who had been given as an example by the teacher is the father of Grace, and the teacher did not know. Grace’s father had always assured her that he was going to be released one day, but upon hearing what the teacher said, Grace imagined her father being killed in such a cruel way and she collapsed.
This is a true story , it is a confession of one of the teachers I met on Tuesday 22nd October 2013 , while I was conducting a LID Session at a secondary school in Uganda for children aged 11-16 years.
LID is an acronym for Light in The dark which is a Wells of Hope project, currently at pilot level in 10 selected schools for one year to work in partnership with different sectors and with prisoners, their families and children, all together, during custody and after release. The aim is to raise awareness about this group of children within schools, reduce school dropout, tackle stigma, lessen the vulnerability of children with a parent in prison.
We are conducting seminars for teachers of these schools and supporting the point of contact teacher so that schools can be supportive of children with a parent in prison, and schools can be a non-violent place where children and their caretakers can express themselves and are kept informed of what is going on.
We are working together as partners by being a link to the prison and sharing information in a professional way. We are also developing relationships with key different stakeholders in our community so that we bring light in the darkness of lives of children with a parent in prison.
We hope that with the success of this project we can get funding and any other support to roll it out to involve more schools in Uganda.
Recently,I interviewed a girl 20 years , and she told me that, when her father was imprisoned she lost interest in school and for two days she could not could got to school . The day she went, a teacher told her in front of other children that he had heard that her father was imprisoned, she felt ashamed and wanted to just disappear immediately.
When we reach out to schools we can help teachers to be sensitive and support these children and their families in every way possible.