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Indeed, life is most fulfilling when lived as a service to others

I had an opportunity with my fellow classmates to visit 100 young girls aged between 12 – 17 years at Kamae Girls Borstal Institution, a correctional rehabilitation facility located within Kamiti Minimum prison in Kiambu County. The main objective of the visit was to share with the girls, support them where we could and learn from them and their experiences in the facility.

On arrival we were impressed by the warm welcome and hospitality we received from our hosts. The facility’s principal took us through the institution and directed us accordingly on how we were supposed to conduct ourselves within the premises. The institution was quite different from other adult institutions in that the girls could only serve a maximum of three years and could only be released upon visible change of conduct.

We had an opportunity to hear the experiences of some of the girls. From struggling to adopt to the new way of life at the institution to adjusting to the do’s and don’ts while undergoing rehabilitation. It was evident that restoration of the girls was happening as the girls continued with their academics. Pastoral visits by the community church was on going and regular guidance and counselling was done by the probation officers. It was beautiful to see some of the girls engaged in ethical ways of earning money by learning beadwork and producing bracelets, necklaces and other bead products that they can sell post rehabilitation.

During the visit we shared a meal with the girls and engaged in various sporting activities such as volleyball and netball. It was evident that after the rehabilitation process, they were inspired and were looking forward to going back to school again armed with key lessons to restart their lives.

While there were many success stories from the girls, some of the challenges faced were a lack of textbooks and stationary, availability of practical tools for courses such as beauty and cosmetology and a shortage of teachers for the science subjects. As a class we provided some donations and personal gifts that will help to fill some of the gaps we witnessed.

The trip was worthwhile as we learned a lot through sharing with the girls and their experience inside the facility. Just from witnessing their lives in the institution, we all learned how to live better and purposeful lives so as to achieve the ultimate goal which we were created for.

Indeed, life is most fulfilling when lived as a service to others.

This article was written by Kingsley Orenge

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