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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 

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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.