John Hamakando was 16 years old when he was arrested for theft involving a mobile phone.
After spending 8 months in command, the High Court confirmed that he be sent to a Juvenile facility. John was ordered to undergo rehabilitation at the Nakambala Approved Juvenile School in Mazabuka district of Southern Province.
It is at Nakambala that John came under the scope of a project dubbed “Incarcerated Populations Rights to a Productive Future is their Human Right”, a project implemented by DAPP Zambia with funding from the European Union aimed at preparing inmates for their successful reintegration into society when they are released.
The project is implemented in 9 Correctional Facilities namely Mansa, Samfya, Chinsali, Mpika, Mkushi and Serenje for adults, and in Katombora, Nakambala and Insakwe for juveniles.
At the Nakambala facility, the activities of the project are focused on two main areas; rehabilitation and reintegration. Training the juveniles in Agriculture, Carpentry, Bricklaying, Metal Fabrication and Computer Studies.
‘’I was trained in Carpentry and Metal Fabrication, Gardening and Computer Studies. When I finished my sentence, I was given a carpentry starter pack so that I could be able to earn a living once outside.’’ Says John.
Apart from training in vocational skills, the program also provides group and individual couselling sessions to the inmates in order to prepare them to be productive and law abiding citizens upon their release.
This program has helped to give former Juvenile offenders the opportunity to work, providing income and meaning in their lives.
John’s father narrates how he was surprised and pleased with the skills his son came back with from his incarceration. ‘’Immediately he came back, he fixed the door that I had bought instead of waiting for a trained carpenter to come and fix. I am convinced that my son is reformed and has skills to earn a living for himself. I thank DAPP for being there for him from the start.’’ He says.
Once released, John is also using his gardening skills to raise more money for materials in his carpentry business. He has a thriving garden of Cabbage, Rape and Tomatoes.
A total of 37 juveniles have been empowered with starter packs as part of their reintegration support. The packs which comprise equipment/material are given to each individual upon their discharge, requiring them to practice their skills.
John was given a carpentry starter pack and he is further using the Agriculture skills he learnt to run a flourishing vegetable business, growing Cabbage, Rape and Tomatoes.