Church rescues prison projects

prisoner_zimHARARE-A semi-autonomous group of the Roman Catholic Church, Society of Saint Vincent de Paul (SSVP), recently bank rolled Zimbabwes prison farm projects to the tune of US$6 000. (The pictures from the SABC documentaries spurred the church into action)

The society made up of voluntary members of the church, mobilized resources to alleviate suffering among prisoners, following revelations by the South Africa Broadcasting Cooperation (SABC), that inmates in Zimbabwes prisons were starving and living under inhuman conditions.

We were touched by pictures of skinny prison inmates shown by the SABC, and decided to assist in whatever way possible. Initially, we donated food for inmates at various prisons across the country. To provide lasting solutions to prison woes, we decided to capacitate prisons through resuscitating collapsed farm projects. We rehabilitated irrigation equipment at Chikurubi maximum prison farm and provided farm inputs such as seed, fuel and dipping chemicals for a 300 herd of cattle at the farm, said SSVP secretary general and president of Harare district council, Michael Mangwende.

Mangwende said: Following the rehabilitation of irrigation equipment at Chikurubi, the prison is now in a position to provide its own vegetables for its inmates. The church society managed to resuscitate and put an 11 hectare vegetable garden under irrigation. Previously, inmates used to water the garden with cans. The project cost US$5 000.

At Mazoe prison, SSVP injected US$1 000 in a four hectare vegetable project. Ridigita Prison in Marondera also benefited from our assistance at the tune of $700 for a four hectare vegetable scheme. Our assistance thrust is aimed at achieving total resuscitation of the countrys 24 prison farms, he said.

Following revelations of shocking pictures by the SABC, SSVP also donated 800 blankets, soap and cooking oil to inmates held at eight prisons out of Harare. Each prison received 100 blankets.

The society is currently assessing clothing requirements for inmates, ahead of a planed donation of prisoners uniforms.

In the past, SSVP donated blankets and food to victims of Muzarabani floods, the cholera epidemic and orphans left by cholera victims. The food packs lasted four months.

SSVP is funded by well-wishers, the Roman Catholic church and the churchs Arch- bishop.

Post published in: Politics

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