“I am a born again Christian and second born in a family of 14 siblings. My parents are still alive. I am married and blessed with three children, though one died at the time I was given a life sentence. I was a witch doctor by profession, a heavy drunkard, drug addict and adulterer. I murdered someone which resulted to a death sentence. I thank God that my entering prison has changed my life. I gave my life to Christ and I am fully committed to Him. The book of 2 Corinthians 5:1-7 says – therefore whoever is in Christ is a new creation, the old has passed and the new has come. I thank the Bible Society of Kenya for bringing the Trauma Healing programme to Kamiti Maximum Prison. I have greatly benefitted from it and will share the knowledge with the community around me.” John (not real name)
According to some inmates, serving a life sentence in prison feels like along and arduous journey towards a freedom that is not guaranteed. Most inmates confessed that when they entered prison they were traumatized because they experienced lack of freedom, no interaction with their loved ones, diseases, trauma and some felt that they didn’t deserve to be in prison.
Bible Society of Kenya reached out to inmates in Kamiti Maximum Prison with its trauma healing programme so as bring hope to the inmates as well as equip them with knowledge on how to handle trauma as well as train others in similar situations. This was the first time the training was conducted in a prison in Kenya. The five day training was conducted in partnership with Count Me In, a Non-Governmental organization comprising of youth who are passionate about making a difference in society.
Trauma is a psychological, emotional response to an event or an experience that is deeply distressing or disturbing. Some of the inmates openly shared their stories of how their lives have transformed as a result of being in prison. The training was very engaging as the facilitators handled different topics and participants could identify with the topics. The sharing gave them a lot of relief and helped them to begin the journey towards healing.
“I have felt so much relief after attending the trauma healing training. It was like a pus filled wound which eventually burst and oozed out the pus, what a relief! Having been in prison for many years, I needed someone so close to help me manage the trauma I have had for long. I thank God for bringing the instructors who sacrificed all their time to reach inmates in Kamiti Maximum Prison. The teaching was comforting, cautionary and accompanied by biblical references. It is rare to find people with a very big heart to impart such valuable knowledge upon people intensively considered as base in society long live our instructors.” Peter (not real name)
The graduation day begun with a practical session of taking their pain to the cross where all participants listed their pains on a piece of paper which they later burnt to symbolize the beginning of their healing process. This was the most life changing session as participants released their burdens to Christ. Most of the inmates confessed that they will forgive those who have hurt them and to live a positive life.
The training culminated in a graduation ceremony where each student who successfully attended all the classes was awarded a certificate and a book titled Healing the Wounds of Trauma Book for further reading. BSK also donated Bibles for the prison Library for use by the inmates. The ceremony was graced by guests from the American Bible Society who awarded certificates to the inmates.
In March 2018, BSK visited Thika Women’s Prison in conjunction with KTN’s Tukuza Programme. This was a way of sharing Christ’s love with the inmates during the Easter season. We donated Bibles to the inmates and they greatly appreciated the gesture.
Bible Society of Kenya is grateful to the American Bible Society for funding the Trauma Healing Programme so that people may receive hope in life through God’s Word.