Worldwide, there are many children in prison without any hopes for the future. Their trust, in themselves and society, has been severely damaged. These children often lack a social safety net and recidivism is incredibly high.
For this reason it is of vital importance to offer these young prisoners a better future by developing their talents and social skills to reduce the rate of re-offending and to generate a network supporting these projects and professionals working with youth in conflict with the law.
Somos Más Europe, in the context of the Emotive Program, a program impulsing social innovation, is working hard to develop the world’s first international on-line Community of Practise (CoP) hosting a worldwide movement of innovators in the field of youth in conflict with the law.
Its name is “Innovate2Empower”, it is hosted by Young in Prison International, an international organization including partners from: Colombia, Kenya, Malawi, The Netherlands and South Africa.
The purpose of the community
According to what this online community states in its own manifesto, their purpose is to create awareness to reduce stigma, and make positive impact on youth in conflict with the law possible:
“We want to create a call to action to create solutions to the problems youth face. We want to create innovative alternatives to support this call to action. We want to build meaningful relationships with youth, politicians, NGO’s and the public. We want to create support networks for the youth, both during their time in prison as well once they are released. We want to achieve this by developing new stakeholders and bringing them together to support youth.”
Young in Prison Netherlands, founded in 2012, was created to address the problem of high recidivism rate offering alternative learning solutions based on creativity and a fresh methodology with a positive approach to create a comprehensive program consistent with the needs of young people and society.
Music Crossroads Malawi is an art-based, non-governmental organization that uses music and the creative arts to empower young people. Music Crossroads started as an annual program through the Department of Arts and Crafts in the Ministry of Culture and Tourism in 2000, and registered as an independent non-governmental entity in 2007.
YADEN East Africa is a regional organization that focuses on empowering youth by mobilising young people and assisting them to identify their own potential. Since its inception in 2003, YADEN has transformed hundreds of lives in East Africa by offering a free centre that focuses on understanding and engaging young people to discover their talent.
The Familia Ayara Foundation, an organization of Afro-Colombian and mixed race youth, has been using High Impact Methodology to educate and engage young people for more than twelve years. The team works with art and urban culture (such as hip hop) to promote participation that empowers children, adolescents and youth from areas of conflict or high risk of violence and crime.
Young in Prison South Africa, a sister partner of Young in Prison Netherlands, works with young offenders in rehabilitative programs that use art, literacy and sport as the vehicles to bring about change. Through holistic programming that offers positive mentoring and encourages personal development during and after incarceration, YiPSA seeks to encourage program participants, aged 14 to 21, to make positive life choices and become successful and contributing members of society.
All the projects presented at present in the platform are deeply touching and a big source of inspiration and the idea of this platform is that many more will be shared to inspire and generate more innovative ideas of transformation in the specific context of youth in conflict with the law.
The Prison Freedom Project, built on the belief that those incarcerated deserve a chance to heal the harm they have caused, gives each inmate a real chance to create a peaceful and meaningful life. Incarcerated men and women need help to heal from unresolved trauma and learn skills for non-violent problem resolution. Prison Freedom Project activities include volunteer-lead yoga classes, distributing yoga manuals and course materials and mentoring inmates who are enrolled on the course through letter writing.
Growing Change mission it is to transform closed prisons into sustainable farms and educational centres to reclaim opportunities, attain education, and sustain personal and environmental wellness for troubled youth, returning veterans, and our community.
Currently, an open space for debate and exchange of knowledge is being open to all professionals and individuals that share the mission to improve the conditions and opportunities for youth in conflict with the law worldwide.
The objective of this space is to increase local impact by sharing global solutions and best practices.