IMG-20240405-WA0060

The Entrepreneur:  Benjamin’s Quest for Success.

In the busy estates of Nairobi where dreams collide with the harsh realities of life, Benjamin Mutunga’s life story emerges as a beacon of hope and renewal. His journey, woven with threads of transformation and the unwavering belief in second chances, paints a portrait of triumph over adversity.

Emerging from the cocoon of confinement, Benjamin embraced the chaos of the city with an unwavering spirit and a newfound sense of purpose. Armed with the tools of his trade and a heart ablaze with ambition, he ventured into the world of bread selling.

With each loaf of bread sold, Benjamin carves a path of resilience. He wears his journey as a badge of honor, a testament to the indomitable spirit that refuses to be bound by the chains of circumstance.

Benjamin Mutunga running his business

Born in the serene side of Machakos County, Benjamin ventured into the city in pursuit of his entrepreneurial dreams in 2014. “I had found success in the business of selling milk and bread and was making up to Ksh. 4 000 sales profit on a good day. Unfortunately, my life took an unexpected turn in 2018 when I got arrested and subsequently convicted for the offense of manslaughter and sentenced to serve three years in prison,” he says. Despite the despair of incarceration, Benjamin refused to let his spirit be broken. Instead, he turned his time behind bars into an opportunity for growth and self-improvement.

Embracing the programs offered by the Kenya Prisons Service in partnership with Crime Si Poa, Benjamin focused on the entrepreneurship, spiritual, and psycho-education classes that instilled in him a newfound sense of purpose and leadership. He diligently honed these skills as he envisioned a brighter future beyond the prison confines.

Benjamin returned home upon release determined to rebuild his life and reintegrate into society. Despite facing numerous challenges, including financial setbacks and initial skepticism of the community, he remained focused.

With the support of CSP and the encouragement of fellow entrepreneurs like Walaika Brian, he embarked on the journey of resurrecting his business. However, it was not smooth sailing as the road was fraught with obstacles. From losing his hard-earned money on the way to the bank to struggling with a reduced customer base and limited resources, Benjamin faced setbacks that would have discouraged many. Yet, his unwavering determination and the support of his community propelled him forward.

For Benjamin, every sale represents more than just financial transactions, it symbolizes his resilience, his refusal to be defined by past mistakes, and his unwavering belief in the power of redemption. It is the ultimate audacity of hope.

Flavier Mwika(Prisons & Reintegration Manager) left, Benjamin Mutunga(Ex-inmate) middle, Hemstone Mugala(Psychologist) right.

Crime Si Poa (CSP) Programs Manager for Prisons and Reintegration Flavier Mwika says Benjamin’s story is not just one of personal triumph; it is a testament to the transformative potential of the program, which seeks to empower inmates with the skills, support, and resources necessary for successful reintegration into society. She calls on well-wishers to support Benjamin in his quest to expand his business to incorporate milk selling to have a sustainable income stream to meet his daily needs.

Benjamin’s journey of redemption and entrepreneurship serves as a beacon of hope for all those who have stumbled along life’s path. It reminds us that no matter how bleak the circumstances may seem, with resilience, determination, and a supportive community, the human spirit can overcome even the most daunting challenges, turning adversity into opportunity and darkness into light.

Read about Benjamin’s homecoming here: https://crimesipoa.org/it-is-never-too-late/

David Alela playing a guitar during a church service in Kisumu

David Alela’s Redemption Song. 

The pain of serving two decades behind bars for what he maintains was a wrongful conviction has not dampened his unwavering spirit for community service. Gifted with golden fingers, he softly strums beautiful chords on his guitar as he savors the sweet air of freedom. He has just come back home from cleaning up the house of a community member who has been ostracized by the community because of mental health challenges. The man was also suffering from acute jigger infestation on his feet and hands which David had just removed. 

David Alela cleaning up a man who is suffering from acute jigger infestation on his feet and hands.

As the day of his release drew near, Alela who had been going through the pre-release re-integration journey with the Crime Si Poa team led by Bilha Achieng and the Prisons chaplaincy, was at peace. A focused and determined man who decided to use his time behind bars productively, Alela can be regarded as a jack of many trades for which he is also a master. He pursued education, earning his Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education (KCSE), after which he sharpened his legal knowledge and became a paralegal. Not content, the multi-talented David also trained as a theologian, and acquired vocational training in motor vehicle panel beating and automotive engineering.  

To prepare for his smooth reintegration upon release, David undertook the Crime Si Poa psychoeducation training, graduating in 2022 with a certificate. 

David Alela with Rodgers kale the senior superintendent of prison with inmates from Kisumu Maximum Prison

David ’s homecoming was a celebration of love that could have easily been mistaken for a political homecoming. A model inmate, Alela was  Neighbors, relatives, and well-wishers lined up along the road leading to his home in song and dance, eagerly awaiting his arrival where three different churches and the area Chief had gathered to welcome him. 

Speeches from family members and friends were clear on one thing; Alela’s innocence, insisting that he had been wrongfully convicted. His 74-year-old mother, overcome with joy, embraced him tightly, as she looked into his eyes with a smile. She expressed her gratitude to Crime Si Poa and the partnered church: Deliverance Church, acknowledging their support ‘during the dark days’ 

A man who lets the faith he professes lead his actions, Alela has wasted no time in sharing his gift with the world. He plays the guitar in church, is using his talent to uplift congregations and inspire hope as he speaks on redemption, forgiveness, and the promise of a new beginning. 

 What’s more, he is quickly assimilating in the Crime Si Poa team in Western Kenya with planned activities in prisons, schools and the community. 

Alela’s impact has extended far beyond the walls of the church. Recognizing the healing power of psychoeducation, he has become deeply involved in community outreach programs, volunteering his time to mentor at-risk youth on alcohol, drugs and substance abuse, offering guidance, support, and hope to those who needed it most. 

Today, Alela’s guitar serves as more than just an instrument—it’s a symbol of hope, resilience, and the enduring power of the human spirit to rise above adversity, inspiring others to believe in the possibility of second chances and the promise of a brighter tomorrow. 

His journey from incarceration to community impact is a testament to the transformative potential that lies within each of us, waiting to be unlocked and shared with the world. 

Visit https://crimesipoa.org/prison-and-aftercare-program-phoenix/ to support our Prisons and Re-integration program 

crime-si-poa-legal-aid_

Legal Aid Clinic Set Up at Kamiti Medium Prison 

By Levis Jilani 

In the heart of the sprawling Kahawa West suburb of Nairobi County, lies the urban penitentiary of Kamiti Medium Security Prison. Housing hundreds of inmates way beyond its capacity; with the majority silently wrestling with delayed appeals, separation from loved ones and striving for redemption and a chance at a brighter future, it is here, that a beacon of hope has emerged – the Legal Aid Clinic. 

The clinic set up by Crime Si Poa in partnership with the prison administration opened its doors with a mission to provide legal assistance, training, and awareness to both inmates as well as staff. We are giving a voice to those who felt voiceless and skillset to the powerless within the justice system to enable them access justice.  

Crime Si Poa legal officer Sharon Jemutai says the clinic will help in securing expedited court dates for inmates to attend their appeal hearings. “Whereas some inmates have been wrongfully convicted and need to seek justice, others who have been found guilty need to go through the correction and rehabilitation process to rejoin society upon release as productive members. To that end, Crime Si Poa has dedicated time to assist inmates in matters related to the criminal justice system. ” Sharon says. 

Many inmates suffer due to delayed cases and appeals. They face systemic poverty induced barriers to accessing justice. “While many inmates may not be aware of their right to expeditious determination of judicial matters, limited access to legal resources and representation hampers their right to fair trial.” Sharon adds. 

 

According to the Kenya Prisons Service, the surge in numbers of the prison population has resulted in overcrowding and challenges in providing inmates with a conducive environment for serving their sentences and access to technical skills training that they can apply upon reintegration into society. 

Kamiti Medium Prison primarily houses inmates serving sentences of less than ten years. The bi-weekly Crime Si Poa legal awareness sessions have proved to be a big hit with measurable impact within the first month of operation. We are launching, in the first week of October, the training of 40 inmates and staff as paralegals under a Ford Foundation sponsored project. This comprehensive training will be a major boost for inmates who will be taught legal skills on self-representation and leadership, as well as staff who will not only assist the inmates for sustainability of the project, but who will also run awareness sessions amongst other officers. 

During her inaugural visit at the Prison, Permanent Secretary, State Department of Correctional Service Ms. Salome Muhia-Beacco stated that the government was working to decongest its prisons and empower the inmates through technical training and skills building that will serve them well in their communities upon their release. 

Sharon adds that Crime Si Poa is committed to growing the transformational partnership with the prison department. 

To know more about our work in prisons and how you can support, visit : Prison and Reintegration Program (Phoenix) – Crime Si Poa 

[ENDS] 

IMG_6310

Hope in the Midst of Silent Struggles

By Levis Jilani 

Time seems to stretch endlessly within the cold and unforgiving prison cell walls where Charles* (not his real name) has spent nearly 15 years of his life. The walls seem to close in on him with each passing day. He was imprisoned for a crime he insists he never committed; defilement.  Communication was a luxury that Charles lost the moment he stepped into prison. No phones, no internet, no letters. His heart ached for his wife and children. He often wondered how they were coping without him. Did they have enough to eat? Were his children going to school? How were they managing to pay bills?  Same routine days on end made life in prison monotonous. Charles had made a few friends among the inmates, but he found solace in the corners of his mind. Bitterness often took a toll on him, and he felt that the people who had falsely accused him did not deserve anything better. He slowly sunk into depression  

However, Charles’ hopes got rekindled with time. Determination to reconnect with his family after his incarceration grew stronger. He started attending a spiritual program within the prison, and soon realized that the program went beyond the spiritual and delved into skills development and psycho education. “I needed this so badly. So much was going on in my mind and I was sinking into depression, I wanted revenge when I got out. I am thankful that Crime Si Poa came in good time to offer us psychosocial support,” says Charles. 

 Michael* (also not his real name,)  says he had been influenced by peer pressure into a life of drug addiction. His life took a turn after being sentenced as he could not access the drugs in the prison, and this made him sink into depression.  During the psychoeducation sessions, he was counselled on anger management, conflict resolution and drugs and substance abuse. “These sessions have really helped me. I remain sober, and on my recovery journey,” he says.  

These are just a few cases of inmates suffering from mental health challenges, requiring urgent help. Data from 2020 International Journal of Health Sciences and Research states that 63.2 percent of inmates in Kenya suffer from a range of mental disorders caused by confinement related stress, long prison sentence, delays in determination of appeals, frustration due to failure of appeal terms and bad reports from home such as one’s family suffering. Charles says that inmates face many challenges which could impact on them negatively. “This place can be a brooding place of survival criminal mindsets because we get different characters with different motives. Some are burdened by poverty and even if released, will commit a crime to return to prison where food and other basic needs are provided by the government. Such people need help,” he says. 

He calls for more sensitization, skills development, and psychosocial support programs to help stop recidivism. “Since I joined the church ministry, I have developed leadership skills and began mentoring others. I am glad that at the end of my sentence, I will be able to positively impact lives with the knowledge I have.”  During a psychoeducation session organized by Crime Si Poa at the correctional facility, Prison Corporal Mary Makena, a Pastor at Nairobi West Prison emphasizes that the shift from familiar environments to incarceration is a significant contributor to the mental health struggles faced by inmates.  

“Some were accustomed to good meals, comfortable sleep, and freedom of movement. However, upon conviction, everything changes drastically, making it difficult for them to accept and adapt.’’ said Mary, adding that inmates engaged in psychoeducation and spiritual programs within the prison have benefitted mentally “As a patron, I have interacted with many beneficiaries of the program. They share their struggles, and indeed, they go through tough times. However, things are changing for the better due to the weekly transformative spiritual and psychoeducation sessions that have become integral in their lives .” Mary explains. 

Hemstone Mugala, a consultant psychologist at Crime Si Poa, emphasizes the constant need for therapy among inmates. Some find it challenging opening up, necessitating one-on-one daily counseling session. This approach has yielded positive outcomes, as many are now comfortable sharing their concerns with prison officers.” Charles, who looks forward to his release in December, says he anticipates reuniting with his family in Kisii . As a teacher by profession, I aspire to utilize the knowledge gained from the program to sensitize young people in my community and also offer psychosocial support to those who may going through various life challenges,” he concludes. 

To support our mental wellness program in prisons, click DONATE 

Ends 

comm

A day out with Top Prisons Brass. 

By L.Museka and F.Mwika 

According to the Kenya Prisons Service, the total number of persons committed to prison has risen to almost 60,000 inmates against the inbuilt capacity of about 30,000 inmates. 56 percent of this population is of remand inmates awaiting trials. 

Speaking during her inaugural visit to Correctional facilities in Kisumu after her appointment, Principal Secretary, State Department for Correctional Services, Ms. Salome Beacco said that the government was working in partnership with the judiciary and development partners to explore ways of decongesting the prisons to ensure the inmates have a dignified life. The various methods include alternative dispute resolution mechanisms, fast tracking of cases, community service orders, and the presidential prerogative on the power of mercy. 

She congratulated all newly promoted officers and noted that the promotions had improved staff morale and motivation to service. She further reiterated the department’s commitment to fighting climate change, noting that they have planned to put 20% of prison land under tree cover within the next 5 years.  

The Principal Secretary during a tree planting session during her visit at the Kisumu Command.

While donating blankets and hygiene packs to the adult inmates as well as baby clothes for children who are with their mothers at the Kisumu Women’s Prison, Ms. Beacco acknowledged Crime Si Poa’s donation of cleaning detergents and tissue papers to all the 4,000 inmates in the Kisumu Command. The PS called on other stakeholders and partners to come on board to support the department. Crime Si Poa has, in partnership with the Kenya Prisons Service, been undertaking reformation and transformation of persons in conflict with the law through tailored mentorship, entrepreneurship psychoeducation, and spiritual programs. Besides these programs, Crime Si Poa offers paralegal training for both staff and inmates to enable them to address issues related to trials, appeals, and justice more effectively. 

Speaking at the event, the Commissioner General of the Kenya Prisons Service, Brigadier (Rtd) John Warioba who was accompanying the PS, called on inmates to maintain a high degree of discipline and take advantage of the training and technical courses offered for free in the prisons. He reiterated that these skills would enhance their marketability in the job market upon release.  

CSP Team with the Permanent Secretary posing for a photo

In his speech, Crime Si Poa Executive Director Mr. Pete Ouko reiterated that the organization will continue partnering with the department to impact the lives of those in conflict with the law. He further said that Crime Si Poa is purposed to set up a digital skills lab at the Kisumu Medium Prison to build the employability skills of the inmates for seamless reintegration upon release. Crime Si Poa will also initiate paralegal training for inmates and staff at both the Kisumu Women’s Prison as well as the main prison. 

Mutunga is welcomed by family members after his arrival at home

It is Never Too Late.

Stepping out from Nairobi West Prison into the limelight, Benjamin Mutunga is struck by the overwhelming number of people waiting to receive him. The long drive home soon begins and he marvels at the Nairobi Expressway that was built when he was away from home.

The city soon fades behind and gives way to the vast Kapiti plains. After two hours, Benjamin arrives in his neighborhood and everyone, from the local security representatives to church leaders, seems to be walking quickly with joyous faces as they receive him at his village in Muthengei, Machakos County.

Though looking confused on their expectations, he seems excited to be finally back home.

In June 2023, Benjamin was released from prison after serving a six years sentence. What awaited him was not just a reunion with loved ones, but also an outpouring of support from his community. Accompanied by three chaplains from the Nairobi West Prison, Crime Si Poa Wellness Officer Ms. Claire Kwamboka, and Programmes lead Ms. Flavier Mwika, Benjamin lets a deep and joyful sound rise from his soul.

Upon conviction, Benjamin never imagined that he would regain freedom. “I thought about my family, my community, and my business and wondered how I got myself into such a place. I was so devastated, lost hope and sometimes I thought my end had come. However, I came to learn that prison was not a detention place, but a correctional facility, which had many opportunities to help one reform. This is how I got introduced to Crime Si Poa, a youth-centered organization that educates and empowers young people to build ownership around safety, justice, and socio-economic issues. I am glad that they not only target young people but also the older generation,” he excitedly says.

Flavier Mwika says some of the opportunities Crime Si Poa offers to inmates include training them to be paralegals so that they can support other inmates and the community to understand the law and access justice. “We also offer spiritual guidance and psycho-education as many inmates go through mental health challenges during their incarceration, with research showing high levels of depression and anxiety among inmates. “Detention does not derogate the rights and fundamental freedoms all human beings are entitled to,” says Flavier.

Mutunga posing with CSP staff Flavier(left) and Claire(right)

Benjamin actively participated in the psychoeducation classes that were very instrumental in helping him deal with anger, develop resilience and self-acceptance. Prior to his conviction, he had been involved in drugs and substance use. “The sensitization forums in the prison have really been instrumental in helping me stop using drugs. I have also learned to let go and ask for forgiveness following my actions that cost my freedom. I felt equally guilty and pained when my daughter passed away during my incarceration. I thank Lavington Vineyard church for helping me with spiritual guidance,” says Benjamin.

image 3

From Guns to Law Books; Kiamaiko Rises.

Renowned for its goat market, the formerly crime-prone Kiamaiko area in Huruma, Nairobi county celebrated an exceptional moment as thirty community justice workers graduated from the Sheria Mashinani paralegal training project.

The Access to Justice Program facilitated project supported by the Ford Foundation, empowered and equipped community health workers, girls’ rights advocates, and community leaders with legal knowledge and skills to address legal issues faced daily in their underserved community.

With rising cases of gender-based violence, regular conflicts between residents and law enforcement officers, and ignorance of the law being prevalent in the area, the training and subsequent graduation of the paralegals are expected to serve as a catalyst for positive change in the community.

“We could only train thirty paralegals due to budgetary constraints, but we hope that they will pass the knowledge to others to create a legally empowered community, ” Carol Njambi, the lead consultant noted. Based on the impact of the cohort’s work, Crime Si Poa hopes to get more funding so as to scale the training.

One of the beneficiaries, Beatrice Ouma, thanked Crime Si Poa for the program and highlighted how it impacted her knowledge of the law and social issues affecting the community, especially gender-based violence.” As a youth advocate, it will help me address the issues affecting us directly or indirectly in the community,” said Ouma.

Catherine Maina, a Community Health Volunteer receiving a certificate from Evans Nyaribo Rioba.

Georgina Kawira, the Program Manager at Shine a Light organization, expressed her gratitude to the community health volunteers who formed the bulk of the trainees. “We found that most of them don’t have legal knowledge, so we partnered with CSP to educate them on the law, and here they are, ready to implement what they have been taught.”

Regina Nyambura, a community health volunteer from the area, noted that many court cases had been dismissed due to non-attendance of witnesses, hence the community needs to be sensitized on the importance of giving evidence in court. “We will inform them how evidence enhances justice,” she said.

Thomas Nyambego Kiyondi receiving a certificate from the founder of Shine A Light CBO Georgina Kawira.

The training syllabus covered topical issues, amongst them; court processes, structure and etiquette, community mobilization, leadership, family law and succession law, and gender-based violence. They were further taken through community access to justice and alternative dispute resolution mechanisms.

Crime Si Poa plans to create community legal awareness platforms and provide legal services in the area. “Overall, the graduation of the thirty paralegals in Huruma Kiamaiko marks a significant milestone in providing legal knowledge in the community and serves as a model for other communities facing similar issues,” said Sylvia Morwabe, Programs Director at Crime Si Poa.

Sheria Mashinani ( grassroots law) Project has so far trained three hundred and thirty six community and prison based justice workers in the last two years. It is trite that legally empowered communities enhance the rule of law and, in turn, contribute to the reduction and ultimate eradication of crime within the society. To learn more about, and support Sheria Mashinani, kindly visit https://sheria.crimesipoa.org.

pic one

Echoes Of Hope

An endearing, jovial smile hidden in a reserved and shy mien is the first impression that hits you when you meet him. An intern ICT trainer at our digital livelihoods department who has been impacting young people from the underserved areas of Kajiado County with ICT skills, his mastery of, and prowess in software development and computers is mesmerizing. He exudes an aura of serenity and a pinch of nerdiness. Meet Kelvin Wavomba.

His eyes betray a raw determination and willpower, born of adversity in life, to be great in life.  He was not always like this he says.

Fate turned Kelvin into adult life long before he could stop being a child. “Life was not rosy growing up and I was constantly at home due to fees.” he nostalgically recalled. That however did not deter him from getting cluster points to join higher institutions of learning. Through the help of well-wishers and access to limited bursary funds, he was able to finish his high school education “I got a C+ grade, something I had not anticipated with the challenges I had gone through. Even though I was relieved, I knew it was not my ideal grade,” Kelvin says.

He had passed the first hurdle and the next waited- there was no fees for his university education. All he could cling to was hope, hope that help will come. “ I had to think fast on what to do, and without any papers for a formal job, I ended up as herder earning ($30) three thousand shillings monthly,” he said.

Even though Kelvin knew that herding was not his calling and he would eventually transition to something big in the future, he had no idea what that “something” would be.  Call it an audacity of hope driving his desire to move to look for big opportunities. After working for three months, he quit his herding job and with Sh.7,000 saved from his salary, moved to Nairobi.

His destination was Kawangware commonly known as ‘Kakamega ndogo’. “I did not know anyone in Nairobi, leave alone Kawangware, but I wanted to be there. I had been told that would be like my second home,” he narrated. With his little savings going to renting a room, the next nightmare was how to get a job to maintain himself. Lady Luck gave him an immediate smile, because after just a week, his next-door neighbor alerted him of a guards’ job which applied for and got.

The immediate success birthed greed. He wanted to grow fast,  rules notwithstanding. He fell afoul of the law and was soon on the radar of crime busters. The proverbial fortieth day arrived sooner than he expected, and when the sleuths called and asked him to surrender for interrogation, he decided to go on the run. He was a fugitive from justice. “I had bought a few computers to set up a cybercafé back home as my exit plan, hence my decision to run. ” he continued.

It started raining and before he could know it, it was pouring. His cybercafé was wiped clean by thieves just after a month of operation. He could not also hold phone conversations for more than thirty seconds and lived in perpetual fear of being traced and arrested. “After the burglary in my cybercafé, I knew that I could not fight or run anymore. I just did not have the energy. My time was up.” Kelvin notes while in deep thought.  He however, for two years, managed to evade the dragnet laid for him. “When the investigations officer called next, I surrendered and made my location known to them. I was duly arrested the day after this phone call.”

At his trial in court, he pleaded with the Magistrate to allow him to go back to school as he was a first-time offender. After a two-month stay in remand, the Probation officer tendered a favorable report to the court, and he was given a conditional release. The Probation officer then linked Kelvin with Crime Si Poa who financed his entry to a Technical College where he is pursuing a Diploma in IT.  

Jovial Kelvin at main office perusing files during digitization of finance department.

“Kelvin’s story was different. There was something unique about him and I knew that he had reformed. He stood out as determined and we could not deny him the chance to reboot his life,” stated Ms. Flavier Mwika, the Prisons and aftercare Program Manager at Crime Si Poa. “We support returning citizens (ex-inmates) willing to go back to school like in the case of Wavomba,” she added.

Kevin has not only proved to be an innovative and stellar student leader in his college, but has been , during his long holidays, interning with us at the digital livelihood project in Kajiado County where his teaching skills stand out. He is deploying his passion to help and mentor young Kenyans on the adverse effects of crime while equipping them with employability skills.

“My past does not define me, and I am way better than I was back then.  On the flip side I would not have known Crime Si Poa who have been pivotal on my growth journey,” he said. “ I urge them to devolve all these services they are providing to the villages where many people are ignorant about the law,” Kelvin confidently says.

With our interview ended, Kelvin, the now tech guru, excuses himself to go back to the Finance office where he is helping digitize records. I can’t wait to record his next journey in life.

About our Prisons and Reintegration Program (Phoenix) – Phoenix deals with the well-being of inmates through well curated psychosocial, spiritual and life skills mentorship sessions within in prisons and aids in their reintegration back into the community upon release.

To support the Phoenix Program and ex inmates in their re-intergration journey, kindly visit: https://crimesipoa.org/donate-to-crime-si-poa/

Read Joseph Kangethe’s powerful story here : https://crimesipoa.org/hope-restored-in-a-second-chance/

WhatsApp Image 2023-03-01 at 23.28.22

Answered Prayers.

When Ms. Flavier Mwika, Crime Si Poa-Phoenix program manager called Mr. Joseph Kang ‘ethe to go and pick a sewing machine that had been donated by Crime Si Poa from the Nakuru Main Prison, he was over the moon. He could not hide his joy as he mumbled words of gratitude. His prayers had been answered! “Tears dropped from my eyes. I finally had the chance to do something that I loved and I’m good at, I could not believe it, “he said.

Joseph, whose story appears in another article https://crimesipoa.org/hope-restored-in-a-second-chance/ requested well-wishers to donate a sewing machine to him upon his release after serving a 20-year jail term.

Kang’ethe receiving the sewing machine alongside welfare officers at Nakuru main prison

When we made a follow-up call a week after his release to know how he was settling down at his rural home, Kang’ethe was elated about the possibility of owning his own business. “I have rented a shop at our home shopping center-Murinduko where I’m going to run my tailoring business, something that is going to give me great satisfaction,” the excited Kang’ethe remarked.

He was also happy that the community had fully embraced him. “The church and community have fully accepted me back in the fold and I can feel and see their love in their actions, they are my clients at the shop, “he remarked.

Joseph looks forward to increased business once he increases his clientele base. “For a start, I’m grateful that I’m getting my livelihood from this. On a good day I can make $1 (KSH 100) from repairs which I’m grateful for since I’m not begging, he postulated.  He further said that he lives by hope since clients do not come by easily. “I live by hope, that farmers who go out in the forests and have clothes torn come back to me to fix them,” he apprehensively noted.

This has made him anticipate the rains as he also hopes to venture into farming to supplement the little, he is getting from the tailoring business. “I’m waiting for rains so that I can plant, I have prepared the farm and I’m just waiting to plant, hopeful Kangethe told CSP.

Kang’ethe has hit the ground running and started training two gentlemen from his village. He promised to dispense the knowledge once out to the youth while educating them on the dangers and impact of crime. “I took in two gentlemen who were just loitering at the shopping center, and I have been training them how to do tailoring, they have greatly benefitted from the two-hour sessions that I give them daily, like today I’m training them on cuttings,” he noted.

Joseph Nd’ungu one of the beneficiaries of his teaching said that he had benefitted from the training that he is getting. “I used to be an alcohol addict but now I look at the future with hope, thanks to the training I’m getting from Kang’ethe. I’m using time productively to gain life skills. This will help me secure my future,” he commented.

This is motivating Kang’ethe as he said that it had received good feedback from the parents. “Their parents are happy that their sons have had something to do and to keep them busy, “he urged.

His last sentiments, however, will remain inscribed in our hearts and made our faces beam with admiration as he reaffirmed his commitment to working hard toward the future.

“I am not afraid of starting again from zero. I am a hard worker and can comfortably say without a doubt that my future is bright.”

welfare officers receiving the machine at our offices.

Phoenix and Aftercare Manager noted that the organization is happy with the progress the tremendous Kang’ethe has made since. “I’m happy to note that Kang ‘the has greatly improved and his zeal towards improving himself, I also want to thank his community for not stigmatizing him,” she said.

Crime Si Poa continues walking with returning citizens in support through aftercare services, psychosocial support, and in some cases financial help to help them set up once they are reintegrated back into the community.

WhatsApp Image 2023-03-01 at 04.17.26

Pomp as Justice Warriors Graduate

17th Feb 2023  

It was all pomp and jubilation at the iconic Sarakasi Dome Theater- Nairobi, as 102 Crime Si Poa Justice Warriors graduated as paralegals to lead the charge on enhanced legal awareness and empowerment in their communities. The group, which was drawn from Kibera, Mathare, Kawangware, Kamukunji, Kiambu, and Ongata Rongai sub-counties, joined another cohort of 53 inmates and prison staff already trained and graduated under the same project in the last 3 months. 

Joined by their excited family members, the cohort that was competitively picked from the underserved areas of the greater Nairobi metropolis benefitted from a month-long legal training facilitated by key players from the criminal justice sector, lawyers, university law faculty, and law enforcement agencies.  

According to Ms. Sylvia Morwabe, Programs Director at Crime Si Poa, the ‘Sheria Mashinani’ (grassroots legal empowerment, leadership, and awareness) project under our access to justice program is underpinned by the belief that communities that are legally empowered are best placed to access, demand and enhance justice and accountability in public life.  

The curriculum used for the training was developed in partnership with Strathmore University Law Clinic and with input from the Paralegal Society of Kenya training manual. It covers key areas of the Constitution and the laws of Kenya, the legal system, and how the court system in Kenya works. The main goal of the program is to ensure improved legal and rights awareness and access to justice for communities. One of the key strategies used by the program is to train the community paralegals, who can provide proximate legal assistance to those who might otherwise be unable to access justice.  

Halima Guyo, one of the graduates, noted that the training enabled her to gain more legal insights. “I have really benefited from the training, and I am now better equipped and ready to handle legal issues as I serve my Kajiado community,” she said.   

Call for paralegals to stand out in the community.  

Speakers at the graduation ceremony urged the graduates to fight for access to justice for all. “Access to justice starts with you,” said Senior Principal Magistrate Hon. Zainab Abdul who also doubled as a facilitator during the training. She emphasized that if access to justice was to be achieved for all, then the paralegals must lead from the front. “Continue fighting for communities and access to justice for it has to come from you,” said Hon. Abdul.  

Speaking on behalf of the National Police Service which had graciously provided facilitators for the training, Ms. Elizabeth Marube from the Inspector General’s office urged the graduates to go forth and be the change they want to see in their communities. She also welcomed them to partner and continue working with the National Police Service under the Community Policing Department. 

Principal Magistrate Hon. Martha Nanzushi, while representing the head of the Community Service Orders at the Judiciary, Justice Diana Mochache, welcomed the team as key partners in the implementation of Community Service Orders and alternative justice systems, especially for petty offenders. 

The Director of the Witness Protection Agency through her representative thanked and affirmed support for Crime Si Poa’s work in the criminal justice space. “I take this opportunity to thank Crime Si Poa for facilitating this training and allowing us to be part of it. Let’s continue collaborating to strengthen the criminal justice system and uphold the dignity and sanctity of life for the vulnerable,” she said.  

The chief guest’s statement which was read by Mr. Wilfred Nderitu, Senior Counsel and Board Chair, Crime Si Poa. He exhorted the paralegals to fight within moral bounds and not to be used to cause chaos in society. “Battle for just laws, fight for justice in your neighborhood with fairness, impartiality, and integrity.”

Servant leadership 

In his speech Hon. Justice Isaac Lenaola of the Supreme Court of Kenya congratulated Crime Si Poa for its work in promoting access to justice in society. Intimating the vision of Chief Justice Martha Koome on Access to Justice for social transformation, Judge Lenaola enumerated steps initiated by the judiciary, amongst them, the small claims courts’ digital filling of cases and the increased adaptation of alternative dispute resolution mechanisms, which has greatly contributed to the promotion of restorative justice. He stated that all the effort is geared towards the speedy delivery of justice. He implored the graduates to stand out in their approach to justice with integrity. “Being a Community Justice Warrior demands of you, high levels of integrity, commitment, and dedication to servant leadership,” he remarked. He further stated that they should fight for the voiceless in society. “Be champions of just causes, the defenders of justice, the voices of the weak. Your communities expect you to speak up and stand in the gap for those wrongly accused and to ensure that families are not broken by injustices,” he further postulated.  

Drawing an analogy from his alma mater, Judge Lenaola urged the graduates to be selfless in their service as community paralegals. 

“Just as an aside, The Alliance High School motto was, and remains; “Strong to Serve.” I encourage you all to adopt this motto in your daily lives, and selflessly, and with integrity, serve your communities, your country, and your God, “he advised.  

Crime Si Poa and all the beneficiaries are greatly indebted to the Ford Foundation for sponsoring this highly impactful community legal training project. 

https://www.pd.co.ke/news/lack-of-awareness-impedes-justice-access-judge-says-169738/;text=Lack