Shelter’s Executive Director Mr James Nayagam receiving the “Anugerah Khas” from the Deputy Internal Security Minister Y.B. Dato ‘ Mohd Johari bin Baharum
Prison educational development work in Kajang Prison
‘Anugerah Khas’ (Special Award) Awarded to SHELTER by Malaysia Prison’s Department
On 4 Nob 2007 SHELTER was awarded the Anugerah Khas (Special Award) by the Prison’s Department of Malaysia in conjunction with the National Prison’s Day celebration. The ceremony was held in the grounds of the Prison’s Academy in Kajang.
The award is given in recognition of SHELTER’s commitment in providing educational and rehabilitation services for young prisoners in the Kajang Prison.
SHELTER started a programme three years ago for young male prisoners in the Kajang Prison providing:
- Literacy classes, to teach boys to read and write
- Computer skills
- Vocational training
- Group intervention programme
- Legal aid
Mr James Nayagam said that three years ago there were about 350 young prisoners but today the number had increased to 700. According to him most of the boys came from broken families where the fathers have abandoned the family.
The prison Department in its effort to care for the boys invited SHELTER to conduct the education programme. The department had made their staff and space available to allow SHELTER to carry out activities and have extended their co-operation in many other ways. We put on record our appreciation to the Prison Department for their co-operation and care for the young prisoners.
SHELTER’s work in the prison has indeed grown and this year there will be a graduation ceremony for those who have completed their certificate course in computer skills. It is the first time in Malaysia that an event such as this had taken place. No one would have thought there would be a graduation ceremony especially in prison.
This year SHELTER is going to start a band. The boys are looking forward to exhibiting their musical talents through playing the musical instruments and singing. Indeed it’s a form of therapy that would re-enforce their positive side.
About eighty percent of the boys are victims of child abuse. Most of them are school dropouts who had to stop schooling to work in order to support their families. What hope is there for them after they are released from prison? For one thing, going back to school would be furthest in their minds as they would have an uphill task of catching up with other students and furthermore schooling may be boring. What if they applied to work? The employer would discover that he has been in prison and therefore he will have the fears of employing such persons. Even going back to the family seems difficult as the neighbourhood is aware that these boys have been in prison. The boy bears a stigma even before he enters adulthood. Having no other option he returns to his “old” friends and chances of him committing a crime again is there. But now they have hope to live meaningful lives in society.
SHELTER invites the public to be part of this growing work in the prison. You can be part of this work by being a volunteer teacher at least twice a week. You can also help out in the items needed as mentioned below:
- Musical Instruments