News / Africa

Day Care Center Opens for Kenya's Female Prisoners

Sign outside the new day care center at Langata Women's Prison in Nairobi, Kenya, January 23, 2013." (VOA/Jill Craig)
Sign outside the new day care center at Langata Women's Prison in Nairobi, Kenya, January 23, 2013." (VOA/Jill Craig)
TEXT SIZE - +
Jill Craig
— Kenya’s only maximum-security female institution has opened a day care facility for inmates’ children under the age of four. Some were born in prison and, until now, have spent all their time with their mothers and the other prisoners.

Within the city limits of Nairobi is the Langata Women’s Prison, housing women convicted of murder, assault, and drug smuggling, along with others found guilty of petty crimes.

However, it is not just the women who live here. Some of them were pregnant before arriving to prison and delivered their babies behind bars. Others had small children who accompanied them to Langata.

These children, whose other family members are either unable or unwilling to care for them, spend every moment of the day with their incarcerated mothers. That is, until this week, when a day care center was officially opened at the prison.

Children of female prisoners celebrate the opening of a new day care facility at the Langata Women's Prison in Nairobi, Jan. 23, 2013.Children of female prisoners celebrate the opening of a new day care facility at the Langata Women's Prison in Nairobi, Jan. 23, 2013.
x
Children of female prisoners celebrate the opening of a new day care facility at the Langata Women's Prison in Nairobi, Jan. 23, 2013.
Children of female prisoners celebrate the opening of a new day care facility at the Langata Women's Prison in Nairobi, Jan. 23, 2013.
Against the colorful backdrop of the new playroom, filled with toys and games, Jane Kuria says that the new center will greatly improve the children’s lives. Kuria is the CEO of the Faraja Foundation, an organization that helps the needy in Kenya, including prisoners.

“Basically they can spend the whole day, eating nutritious food alone, play alone amongst themselves, and in the evening, go back to be with their mothers. That is what drove us to do this project," said Kuria.

Margaret Ngunjiri has served as the Officer in Charge of the prison for the last two years. She says she is pleased to open the day-care facility as a way to help these children who are not guilty of any crimes.  

“Of course it’s difficult because a child is innocent, she has no committal warrants [conviction documents], she is innocent." Ngunjiri. "But to see, the environment is what is not very nice, because the child is supposed to be with the rest of the children, playing, some freedom but not in confinement.”

This confinement is one of the reasons why Father Peter Meienberg, the founder of Faraja, spearheaded the effort to build the center.

“I felt that the children had a right to live the ordinary life of a child, and they were deprived of that, said Meienberg. "They stayed with their poor mothers for 24 hours a day, they listened to all the negative things they heard…and so I decided that something has to be done. They have a right to live the ordinary life of a child.”

Kuria says that day care will not only help the children; their mothers will also benefit from this new addition to the prison.

“In my view, I think this is very good, even for the mothers whose children are here, because of even their own psychological well-being. Because sometimes, as a mother, you want to be away from your child for just a while, so you can also find time to think about your life, think about what really is going on, in you, even without this child," she said. "So it would be very healthy for the mothers to have their children just away for a whole five hours, five to eight hours a day, because I know children are growing up, and the women, among themselves, can deal with their own issues.”

According to Kuria, the center is so nice that she worries about the children’s reintegration after they leave the prison.

“After they get used to this kind of environment, what happens when they get back to the society, where this may not be available? So this is something we have to deal with because obviously back home, or where they will go, if their mothers are still in prison, it may be very different from what we are exposing them to," Kuria said.

There are roughly 700 women incarcerated at Langata Women’s Prison and more than 45 children under the age of four who live there with their mothers.

You May Like

Multimedia Relatives of South Korean Ferry Victims Fire at Authorities

46 people are confirmed dead, but some 250 remain trapped inside sunken ferry More

War Legacy Haunts Vietnam, US Relations

$84 million project aims to clean up soil contaminated by Agent Orange More

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid