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OYO Trust assists in the rehabilitation of offenders through role play and drama training

OYO Trust assists in the rehabilitation of offenders through role play and drama training

The Ombetja Yehinga Organisation Trust (OYO) has embarked on a project ‘in and out’, which aims to gather information about HIV incidences and prevalence in correctional facilities while supporting offenders, to reduce engaging in risk behavior activities.

The project is currently operating in six facilities and through role play and drama training OYO helps the groups work towards changing behavior.

OYO is currently working at the Hardap Correctional Facility where 31 offenders or taking part. As change starts with oneself it is important for offenders to integrate new set of behaviors in order to then support others.

With the help of the Officer in Charge, the Head of Security and the person in charge of the Health Division, OYO has trained the group at the facility in drama and short play.

The aim is to change perception, because people often think that offenders are criminals and they are in custody for a reason, but they can learn and change,” said Dr Philippe Talavera, Director of OYO.

He added that it is important to give offenders a chance to present their good side because they can positively contribute to society.

The initiative taken by the Hardap Correctional Facility, building up on the work we did with offenders is therefore admirable and it will encourage offenders to realise they can become role models and help build their self esteem,” he added.

Nyandee Mbarandongo, Youth Development Officer of OYO in charge of the project said the offenders who are part of the programme have embraced their new role eagerly.

In the facility they look after older inmates, washing their blankets and cutting their nails, and they work hand in hand with the Health Division to try and bring change,” said Mbarandongo.

Mbarandongo added that the change the project has made can really be felt and this would not be possible without the hard work of all the staff involved in the facility.

Hopefully it will also deter youngsters from becoming criminal because the crime rate is high among youngster in Mariental and this initiative can hopefully help make a difference,”he added.

The ‘in and out’ project is funded by the Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA) and is an initiative of the Namibian Correctional Service.

About The Author

Mandisa Rasmeni

Mandisa Rasmeni has worked as reporter at the Economist for the past five years, first on the entertainment beat but now focussing more on community, social and health reporting. She is a born writer and she believes education is the greatest equalizer. She received her degree in Journalism at the Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST) in June 2021. . She is the epitome of perseverance, having started as the newspaper's receptionist in 2013.

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