The checkout clerk at the mall gave me a fistful of coins, as I tried to corral the coins into my purse, the zip jammed. I realized I was holding up the line, I moved my shopping bags to a nearby table and continued with the hassle of the obstinate zip.
“Let me help you, it might be easier to manage”
A voice came through behind me. I turned back to find a petite lady staring at me expectantly. She was willing to help with the jammed zipper. Then all of a sudden she grabbed me and hugged me tightly. Having realized the awkwardness of the situation, she let go and with a teary eyes said,
” you resemble my mum in every bit, sorry, she died last week”
It was my turn to give her a bone crushing hug as she whimpered on my shoulder.
After a while, as I talked to her I gathered that her father had been recently convicted and was serving a life sentence in one of the maximum prison. All their assets were confiscated, they were bankrupt after using all their savings in the court process fee, their mother could not come to terms with raising eight children with barely nothing, having been sent away from her matrimonial home by her angry in-laws .She was found a week later hanging in her bedroom, a tight rope around her neck, said it all, she had lost hope and life.
It dawned on me then how harsh incarceration of a family member can be. Incarceration leaves doom in its wake, as subtle as some situation can be, it’s always an agonizing trauma to bear the backlash of incarceration.
AFIFA steps in just for that, to palliate the backlash of incarceration on the family. AFIFA says “cuff the convict not the family”. Set the family free of imprisonment. Let the convicted serve term as per the state’s requirements but do not impose the incarceration further on the family left at home.
As members of the society, they stand a chance at nation building. Let the children go to school in an amicable non-judgmental environmental, let the mothers be there for their children as a mother hen does, let the ex-convict come back home to love and a resolved mind to better the life of his family.
All these are covered by AFIFA in its three main projects, WIMA, SCIP and CAREX-CON.
AFIFA is a noble course that is filling a wider niche that has been overlooked for long time. Prisoners are people too ,and their families is the only hope that can revive their spirit to reform, let’s give the families of the incarcerated a chance to be equal members of the society.
Ms. Esther Otieno, programs manager, AFIFA.
A girl child activist, Researcher, Writter and a passionate educator.