Riccardi Andrea: on the web

Riccardi Andrea: on social networks

change language
you are in: home - friendsh...the poor - friends
in prison
- freedom ...risoners - mbeya (t...iliation
contact usnewsletterlink

Support the Community

  

Mbeya (Tanzania): The Community’s service in a juvenile prison opens the way to liberation and reconciliation


 
printable version

Mbeya (Tanzania): The Community’s service in a juvenile prison opens the way to liberation and reconciliation
14 april 2010

Mbeya is a city with several hundred thousand inhabitants, located in the extreme southwest corner of Tanzania, not far from its borders with Zambia and Malawi.
It is a city that is scattered and stretched along the sides of the main road which connects the large mining fields of Katanga and northern Zambia to the Indian Ocean, to Dar es Salaam as its port.
It is a growing city where, thanks to cross-border trade and non-stop car and truck traffic, a bit of cash has begun to circulate.

The myth of wealth fascinates Mbeya’s citizens, just like it does many other Tanzanians, to the point that it has become a value in itself which wipes out solidarity, even with those connected by a common family bond.
Our brothers in the small community in Mbeya have recently noticed this. They who three years ago began service in the temporary juvenile prison (a male prison, not big, with between 10 and 30 inmates) which is near the city center, in Soweto.
Here the young prisoners awaiting to go to the court are visited once or twice a month by the Community.
It is a visit that means they might have something extra to eat, soap, clothes, friends to pray with and to whom they can explain what happened, the reasons why they ended up in prison.
It was from these young mens’ stories that the inconsistencies of what they were accused of became clear; and at the same time, the fact that the accusations arose from the accusers’ desire to get rich quick at the young mens’ expense.

At least half of the young men in prison were newly orphaned by both parents and had been accused by other close family members for rather meaningless reasons in the hope that these family members would, after the prisoner’s conviction, inherit the goods (maybe some money but more so their homes) that had been left to the children of these deceased.
For some of these young prisoners, their period of detainment has already been long (up to a year) and painful, considering that which had sent them to prison, the sense of injustice and betrayal which went along with it.

The Community in Mbeya decided to act in the defense of these minors’ rights, with patience and tenacity, seeking to follow a path of justice and reconciliation.

Wherever possible, those in the community spoke first with guards and custodians and juvenile judges, and then with the families of those arrested, particularly those who had brought the accusations against them, to try to convince them to withdraw the accusations.It was a delicate effort which sought to avoid further grudges, revenge or retaliation, and which, fortunately, was successful in a number of cases.
So far nine young friends of the Mbeya Community have been released from prison because of the withdrawal of the accusations which had been brought against them.

With nearly all of them, the friendship which began in prison continued even after their liberation, with a sense of an extended family to which the bond, which is born of the Gospel, is stronger than any personal individual interest.

And it is beautiful to see some of these ex-prisoners going along when the community goes on its visits to the Soweto prison.
It is now these ex-prisoners, whose story is one of liberation and hope, who go to visit the youth who are waiting for judgment, who go to help them and encourage them to have faith in the future.

Video

Friends in prisons

Campagna Liberare i
Prigionieri in Africa




Online donations

RELATED NEWS
November 7 2016
WORDS OF POPE FRANCIS

When violence is met with forgiveness, even the hearts of those who have done wrong can be conquered by the love


that triumphs over every form of evil. In this way, among the victims and among those who wronged them, God raises up true witnesses and workers of mercy.
IT | EN | ES | DE | FR | PT
May 3 2017
ABUJA, NIGERIA

Nigeria: humanitarian aid to the women detained in Suleja Prison


The Community of Sant'Egidio delivered mattresses to prisoners who even don't have a bed to sleep on
IT | EN | ES | DE | PT | NL
June 1 2011

Cameroon: Growing effort to let the life in prison be more humane

IT | EN | ES | DE | FR | CA | NL | RU
May 10 2011

Palermo - The gates of the prison Pagliarelli have been opened

IT | EN | DE | FR | NL | RU
May 9 2011

Friendship resurrects the life of the elderly in Tanzania

IT | EN | ES | DE | FR | CA | NL | RU
all related news

ASSOCIATED PRESS
July 26 2017
Roma
La Comunità di Sant'Egidio porta in carcere musica e gelato
July 26 2017
Roma
Alla ricerca della dignità perduta
June 24 2017
Radio Vaticana
Sant’Egidio a Washington: rafforzare impegno contro pena di morte
June 19 2017
OnuItalia
Nigeria: Sant’Egidio regala un serbatoio per acqua potabile ai detenuti del carcere minorile di Jos
January 4 2017
ANSA med
A Napoli presepe dei detenuti dedicato a viaggio migranti
all press-related

PHOTOS

123 visits

132 visits

144 visits

212 visits

54 visits
all the related media