Prisoner Reintegration and Empowerment Organisation has set up a farm to enable ex-prisoners to carry out farming activities to improve their livelihood.
Organisation Director, Derick Maluma told ZANIS in an interview that the farm will give ex-prisoners an opportunity to set up their own income generating ventures through farming.
Mr. Maluma explained that the organisation is already running poultry on the farm and wants to set up a bigger one to incorporate more ex-prisoners to run it.
He said the land where the farm is located is being rented out to the Association at a fee by a resident in the area.
Mr. Maluma called on various stakeholders in the country to support the Initiative as implementing the reintegration programme will require a lot of funding.
“We will need a lot of funding to carry out farming activities and we are hoping to get help from various stakeholders as starting up such an Initiative requires a lot of funding,” Mr. Maluma said.
He stated that the organisation intends to engage Chieftaness Nkomeshya Mukamambo II to lobby for her support towards the Innitiative.
Mr. Maluma said he is confident that the farm will reduce levels of crimes committed by ex-prisoners who mostly resort to their old ways as they usually have nothing to do after they are released from prison.
He also disclosed that the organisation will soon open a transit home for ex-prisoners in Lusaka to accommodate ex-inmates that get stranded after incarceration.
“A lot of ex-prisoners become stranded after they are released from prison due to factors such as lack of transport, others cannot locate their families while others who were street kids do not have families to go back to and end up becoming street adults. The transit home will offer accommodation to these groups of ex- prisoners before they are reintegration in society,” Mr. Maluma said.
Mr. Maluma said female ex-prisoners will also be welcomed at the transit home and given the same assistance as male prisoners to begin their lives again.
He stated that female ex-prisoners are more vulnerable on the streets because they risk starting prostitution as a means of earning a living hence the need to accommodate them at the transit home and allow them to engage in farming activities to make an honest living.
Mr. Maluma called on well-wishers to support the transit home once it becomes fully operational as the organisation cannot do so on its own.