Author Archives: AJ Woodworth

The Children – Wells of Hope Academy

The Children – Wells of Hope Academy

by Rebecca Ginsburg, EJP Director
September 25, 2013

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Yesterday was a sober day, though not without its joys. Today was all joy.

We visited the school that Wells of Hope runs for children of incarcerated parents. These children are among the most marginalized and neglected populations in Uganda. Children with mothers or fathers in prison are likely to be ostracized by family members and neighbors. They face a heavy social stigma and offer experience abandonment.  To add to this burden, most come from poor families who would be stretched to provide education for them, even if they were so inclined. Against this background, Wells of Hope takes recommendations from committees of incarcerated men and women (in their respective prions) regarding whose children should be admitted into the school. Then the organizations’s personnel travel to the district where the child resides, typically in the rural areas. Once they’ve tracked the child down–it’s not so easy to find someone who may have been handed to a neighbor as a domestic worker or sold into slavery–they make an offer to the guardian: “We’ll pay the school fees of this child. Will you permit us to take him or her and enroll them in our boarding school outside Kampala?”

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This is neither uncomplicated nor uncontroversial. What about the family of the victim? How does such intervention affect neighborhood interactions in a small, parochial rural community? For now, please put those good concerns aside (believe me, we’ve raised them), and just take a look at some of the photos I took today during the activities and performances that the students put on for us today. It’s clear that their teachers treat them with affection and respect. Some have emotional problems that are addressed through counseling, but it’s clear that these children are generally happy, healthy, and full of optimism. Ponder that these are the children whose fathers we met yesterday on death row and at the women’s maximum security prison. In some cases we recognized them as the offspring of the men and women we talked to and hugged yesterday, the ones who expressed such hope for their children’s future and gratitude for this intervention.

Running the school, including teacher salaries, supplies, food, and uniforms–costs $2,100/month.

Many of these children were found in rags, underfed and abused. Look at them now. It does not necessarily take a lot to turn a child’s life around, but at Wells of Hope they realize this is only the beginning. The larger aim is to create agents of change among the incarcerated men and women who will return to their home communities to work among the people there. This is very similar to EJP’s vision! I hope that we and Wells of Hope can work together in the future.

The Parents – Ugandan Prisons

The Parents – Ugandan Prisons by Rebecca Ginsburg, EJP Director September 24, 2013 I visited this prison today—Luriza Maximum Security Prison in Kampala, Uganda. Our group spent about three hours in the condemned men’s section, where about 375 men on death row live, separated by the general population and distinguished by their white striped uniforms…

First Day in Uganda!

First Day in Uganda! By Rebecca Ginsburg, EJP Director September 23, 2013 Kampala was built on seven green hills that cluster just north of the shores of Lake Victoria. Today I and four other international visitors drove up and down several of those hills as we made our way to appointments throughout the city. Our…

Danville on Lockdown – A Student’s Perspective

Danville on Lockdown – A Student’s Perspective By Josh Walbert, EJP Student September 19, 2013 Editor’s Note: Danville Correctional Center was on lockdown between August 29 and September 15, 2013. During that time all visits and programs were cancelled. I invited EJP students to reflect on the lockdown and Josh Walbert wrote this in response.…

Welcome to the new EJP Blog!

Welcome to the new EJP blog! By Rebecca Ginsburg, EJP Director September 18, 2013 Our new blog will feature a mosaic of voices from people connected to the Education Justice Project. We hope the entries will convey the intellectual vibrancy of our program, the caring spirit that imbues the learning community at Danville Correctional Center,…

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