Women inmates from the New Amsterdam Prison last week benefited from sessions focused on health and self-development practices.
The activity which was spearheaded by the Ministry of Social Protection, in collaboration with the Ministry of Public Health was conducted on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Akilah Doris, Manager of the Sexual Offences and Domestic Violence Policy Unit of the Ministry of Social Protection explained to Stabroek News at the opening of the activity, that the ministry was invited to come on board as part of the prison’s “rehabilitation programme to do some work with the women”.
She also noted, “We took this opportunity because we want to let them know we still care and their health is equally important”.
Doris further stated that a collective decision was made to bring the Ministry of Public Health on board to do some work on women’s health. She added, “Women who have been incarcerated would have health problems from time to time, and we wanted to make sure that they are being covered and they understand why their health is important”.
Additionally, some attention was paid to sensitizing the inmates on cervical cancer. The manager said that the inmates were given the opportunity to undergo a VIA (Visual Inspection with Acetic Acid) screening and general and physical check-ups.
Doris also said that they focused as well on women’s empowerment and self-development, “Even though you are incarcerated it doesn’t mean you can’t be a liberated, empowered women within the institution”.
According to Doris, the activity also focused on helping the female inmates to recognize who they are as individuals, as well as teaching them that it is possible to live a fulfilling life, despite the circumstances, “and for those who would be fortunate enough to leave these gates at some point in time, we really hope to change their perspective in not just how they see themselves, but how they see other persons and how they should relate with other persons”.
Each female inmate received a hygiene pack. Doris stressed that the activity was the beginning of many other ventures at the New Amsterdam Prison.