From the Southern Region – June 2019
WALK INTO THE REALITY OF TOMORROW WITH THE HOPE OF TODAY
While studying in prison as a trainer or manager, we experience thousands of lives which make us feel sometimes sad, sometimes angry, sometimes surprised. These life stories are the ones which start and will end in somewhere different but which intersect in the same place. We see these stories in the 3rd page of newspapers. Although their names are mentioned, they are not volunteers to be in those stories.
In our institutions we find people who have not grown up with the dream of being in prison or who even have not had the chance to grow up, who entered into prison when they were a child. The concept of “ going to jail” is important. You really go into the prison. You go out of arms of your loved ones, your sweet home, eyes of others close to you or any other place precious for you.
Of course it is not true for everyone. Some people are promoted to jail. It is strange, isn’t it? Let us tell this way. Have you ever seen someone who is happy to go to jail? We have and we go on seeing. Happy women who get rid of violence of fathers, husbands… Happiness which makes us sad…
It is said that there is a women behind each succesful man, unfortunately there is a man behind each woman who goes to jail. We face this reality soon after we start to work in prison. They were our mothers, daughters, wives, mother in laws, aunts but in each story there was “a man”: men who contributed to send women into prison, instead of trying to take them out .
In such a working environment, both in prison and probation services, our main motivation in each project is social integration of one more person, as it is in the starfish story. We have evaluated our work as having big results regardless of the number of disadvantaged participants, the size of the project, the view that it seems to be a small step taken in the long journey.
We tried to keep in mind the positive effect spreading like waves from individual to the family and to the society, like a butterfly effect, evolution from negative to positive, thinking about the scenario that if this work is not done then the change will not occur. Especially today, financially motivated crimes are increasing so we tried not to forget that vocational courses can break handcuffs.
One of the projects developed for that aim is the project called “ My Job is My Freedom”, a project that was prepared as a vocational pastry making course, for women, funded by the Australian Embassy. Although it may be seen like a small step from outside, it is aimed at improving social, economical and cultural conditions for several women prisoners.
Besides vocational courses, and since we are social beings, we believe in supporting the process with free time activities. Within this perspective one of the best practices we want to mention, is “ One Step Further With Music” Project, applied in Yalova Probation Branch and funded by the Green Crescent. What is original in this project is the forming of a mixed music group including people under probation and probation officers, trying to give the message that we are all equal human beings and we are against labeling. There are pictures below from a concert that the group performed.
By the way, all projects which help us to look at the future with hope, keeping in mind each life saved from crime, will turn back as a smiling future, a better future than today.
– by the Education For Life Association Staff (The EFLA), Turkey