Somalia: How to better reintegrate detainees into society

somalia-01-detention-so-e-00678As part of its work in detention centres in Somalia, the ICRC set up a vocational training programme in Bossasso prison in 2013. Detainees are able to take courses in carpentry, masonry and sewing. The courses last six months and vary in level of difficulty to take into account the detainees’ existing skills.

Mohamed, an inmate at a northern Somalia prison, had only ever been trained in one thing: how to fire a gun.

Now, though, thanks to a programme for prisoners run by the ICRC, Mohamed and others are learning skills in carpentry, masonry and tailoring that they can use in the outside world.

“I have never had an opportunity to be trained for a job,” Mohamed said. “Thanks to the ICRC and the management of the prison, I have been included in the carpentry training.”

The ICRC has been teaching inmates new job skills in the prison in Bossassa – in the northern Somalia region of Puntland – since 2013. Such ICRC vocational training programmes are fundamental to the well-being, rehabilitation and social reintegration of detainees.
Prison visits are a core part of ICRC’s humanitarian role in the world. The aim of this humanitarian activity is to ensure that persons deprived of their freedom are treated humanely and with dignity.

The first-ever detention visits by the ICRC occurred during World War I, and decades later its delegates visited Nelson Mandela when the South African icon was behind bars. The organization currently visits 500,000 detainees a year in more than 90 countries and territories.

Mohamed first began interacting with the ICRC in 2012, when the organization handed out hygiene products like soap and helped inmates send messages back and forth with family members.

Sixty detainees, both male and female, are now enrolled in the six-month vocational classes. Mohamed shows visitors the fruits of his new carpentry skills – a table and chair.
“I can make anything you need for your house out of wood. These skills have changed my entire life,” said Mohamed, who plans to teach his two sons new carpentry skills.

“Now I am full of energy,” he added. “In the future when I get my freedom, I plan to work in a carpentry shop. With a bit of investment I can plan my own business and be independent.”

Source : ICRC

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