I'm Finally Going Back to Prison

James Ouma
Posted August 3, 2016 from Kenya
fence
Empowering boys results into a safer and better world

Eight years ago, I got a job as a children’s television producer. My work involved interacting with children from all backgrounds. Since I used to meet a lot of vulnerable children from poor backgrounds, I started challenging them to envision a better world for themselves and their future. I encouraged them to appreciate who they are as opposed to focusing on what they didn’t have.

In July 2012, I met 100 boys in juvenile prison and started a weekly mentoring program on my off day from work. After awhile, Hosea Omondi, from our church, joined me. We would visit the boys then spend the whole week doing other things that included;

  • calling parents (90% of them being single mothers) of the boys
  • tracing their homes and parents
  • verifying information with police officers
  • intervening on behalf of innocent boys who had not been involved in crime
  • seeking for reconciliation with parents and victims of crime

5 months later, I quit my job as a TV producer to focus on writing and working as a full time volunteer withLifesong Kenya.

Swimming with the sharks

I remember telling Irene Simiyu I had decided to swim with the sharks. This was my reference to the decision I had made to quit my job and focus on mentoring boys in juvenile prison.I have had lots of challenges and have considered throwing in the towel. I have lost count of the times this has happened.

I have been running half marathons to raise funds for Lifesong Kenya. My running stopped being a tool for raising funds by the time I was running the second marathon.Instead, running has been a moment I listen to God. I heard God's voice during my first 21K run in March. Since then, I have had several confirmations that I can't continue ignoring.

I am still not earning enough from my writing. I also don't have funding for Lifesong Kenya. But I feel convicted to resume my work with juvenile prisoners. It is the same thing that I set out to do when I quit my job in 2013. I know it is not going to be an easy road. But this is a cause that I am willing to lay everything else aside.

Most of the 100 boys that I worked with went to embrace crime-free lives. This has resulted into peaceful co-existence within the communities where these boys used to engage in criminal activities and violence whose main victims were single mothers and teenage girls. Our program will enable boys engaged in crime to understand themselves and the responsibility they have in making the world a safer place for women and girls.

Making the world a safer place

Our program instills conscience, character and courage in the boys. It teaches them to choose right from wrong, live with integrity and honor as well as defend the truth and honor of women and girls. By doing this, I believe that the world will become a better and safer place for women and girls… one boy at a time.

I invite you to be part and parcel of this amazing journey. Together, we are going to give vulnerable children a platform to grow to their full potential. Kindly support by contributing any amount onPaypal. You can also use our fundraising link onM-Changa.

Feel free tocontact me for more information.

Thanks for contributing!

James Ouma

Comments 4

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Drew Dakessian
Aug 04, 2016
Aug 04, 2016

James, 

Thank you for taking the time to share your story. Keep in mind, though, that World Pulse is first and foremost a vehicle for girls and women to have a voice and support each other in the pursuit of of a better life for individual members and higher status in society for the category Woman at large. I encourage you to reconsider the events described in this post in terms of their effect not on boys and men, but women and girls. For example, you might want to discuss whether the imprisonment of these boys has been or would be detrimental to girls and women, or protective. 

Thank you for trying to create a better world for the next generation!

James Ouma
Aug 04, 2016
Aug 04, 2016

Hi,

Thanks for that insight. I'll do as you have suggested and advised. In fact, most of these boys are brought up by single mothers who appreciate our intervention and work. 

Sabiha Hasan
Aug 06, 2016
Aug 06, 2016

Well, I liked your work and thanks for sharing it with us. I am curious to do you have girls in prisons. In case, if yes did you ever think of supporting and mentoring them to have a better life after prison.

TC

Sabiha

VNoW (Founder)

James Ouma
Aug 08, 2016
Aug 08, 2016

Miss Sabiha Hasan,

Thanks for your feedback and for reading. Yes, we do have girls in prison and rehab. We also work with them. Would you like us to connect?

James Ouma