A team of American Christians from the International Reconciliation Ministries (IRM) is training prisoners to become agents of change. They aim to foster reconciliation among perpetrators of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi and other members of society.
According to the founder and Director of IRM, Arlene Tatum, 63 inmates at Kigali Central Prison (1930) yesterday acquired certificates after completing training as leaders in this cause while 76 from Rilima prison received theirs last week.
“We believe that Rwanda has done a wonderful job in reconciling the people in the aftermath of the Genocide. We are happy to be a partner to this by encouraging inmates to receive God’s gift of salvation,” Tatum said.
“We are equipping them with what will speed this process of reconciliation so that even when they leave prison, they can continue to foster this rather than think or engage in acts of violence. Our motivation also comes from reconciliation villages like that in Musanze.”
During the course of training, the prisoners are engaged in fellowship and sessions where key topics like the importance of moral and ethical integrity are taught.
“These lessons enable people to reach out to others and change them by instilling a sense of accountability and greater responsibility for one another. We challenge them to start here in the prisons and later do the same in society,” another member of IRM, Pastor Roger Stevens explained.
In a related development, the team spent Rwf 18million to distribute over 4,500 bibles and discipleship booklets to prisoners.
Tatum explained that their work will continue in Ntsinda prison and more activities are yet to be introduced such as the children’s ministry that will cater for children living in prisons with their parents.