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)
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

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies More

Judge Declares Washington DC Ban on Public Handguns Unconstitutional

Ruling overturns capital city's prohibition on carrying guns in pubic More

Pricey Hepatitis C Drug Draws Criticism

Activists are using the International AIDS Conference to criticize drug companies for charging high prices for life-saving therapies 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.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid