Reading, writing project change prisoners lives

By Pai Mulitalo Ale ,

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GREAT INITIATIVE: Commissioner of Samoa Prisons and Correctional Services Taitosaua Edward Winterstein with members of the Sei Oriana Organization

GREAT INITIATIVE: Commissioner of Samoa Prisons and Correctional Services Taitosaua Edward Winterstein with members of the Sei Oriana Organization

A programme designed to teach prisoners how to read, write and to empower them with the Word of God is making a difference.

More than fifty prisoners received certificates after the four-month programme conducted by the Sei Oriana Organization last week.

President of the Organization, Fuimaono Na’oia Oli Schuster, said the programme is all about changing lives and getting the prisoners to believe in themselves that with the help of God, they can change for the better.

While it is only the beginning of the programme, Fuimaono said there is definitely a need for it.

Assistant Commissioner, Ulugia Niuia Aumua, thanked the Sei Oriana organization for the initiative. Ulugia said most of the prisoners at Tafaigata can’t read and write but with this programme they are starting to learn.

“There is a big change in them ever since this programme started.”

Asked how they select the prisoners to participate, Ulugia said they have a training needs analysis to select the ones who are qualified to participate. 

The programme is conducted on a two-hour basis twice a week. 

One of the prisoners who participated in the programme, Vaomu’a Mulitalo of Sa’anapu, said he found the training very helpful. 

 “I now know how powerful the word of God is, I now know how to pray whole heartedly to God for his blessings,” said Vaomu’a. 

Before he took part in the programme, he said he forgot about just how great God is.

 “Another thing I learnt not only from this programme but from prison is how to get connected with my family again, family is everything.” 

Another prisoner 18-year-old, Apisai Joseph, said he would make good use of the programme and what it has taught him. 

“With this programme, it has helped my mind to see the clear picture of everything that’s been happening, especially with my life,” he said.

The Sei Oriana Trust is a Charitable Trust. It is the facilitator for Literacy & Numeracy Programme for inmates Tafaigata on behalf of Samoa Prisons & Corrections Services. 

“The graduation held on the 22nd November 2016 for inmates, was a success due to the kind contributions from Ah Liki Wholesal, Frankie Company, Tokelau Office, SMI, Origin Gas, Inalani's Catering, Leki McDonald, Trade Winds Company and Tanoa Hotel.”

© Samoa Observer 2016

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