From June 2021 -when the African Jesuit AIDS Network started a partnership with the Catholic Prison Chaplaincy in Kenya- various training activities followed. Over the month of August 2021, AJAN HIV and AIDS Prevention Programme for Youth- AHAPPY training activities were carried out.
On 18th August 2021, AJAN conducted AHAPPY training for Girls at Kamae Girls Borstal Institution. This is juvenile prison facility for set inside the Kamiti Prison complex in Nairobi, Kenya. They are of ages 14-17 and this is the only prison institution in Kenya that caters for girls of ages below 18. The girls were enlightened about Sexually Transmitted Infections, and were also engaged about the need to still pursue their dreams despite conviction through a topic ‘achieving ones dream-reaching one’s potential’.
The Youth Correctional and Training Centre (YCTC), which also lies within the Kamiti prisons complex, and which hosts young boys of below 18 years’ of age, hosted AJAN for AHAPPY training on 25th August. It is a correctional institution for boys serving prison sentences as well as those in remand. The topics handled were Sexually Transmitted Infections, and ‘relationships’ whereby educative movies, songs, games and group activity cultivated good ground for a participatory and gripping engagement between the trainer and the youth. The trainer in both trainings was Pascalia Sergon.
Further training activities are set to continue at the correctional facilities with the intention of helping the incarcerated youth to develop hope and grow to be well-rounded human beings in all dimensions. An elaborate plan is in the process of development which includes the input of catechists, the youth and AJAN in order to ensure effective needs-based training. The youth who live within prison communities but who are not imprisoned, and who include the children of prison officers and catechists, will also benefit from the Training of Trainers sessions which will proceed in September 2021. Other facilities to benefit from the trainings include Jamhuri Short Sentence Prison in Parklands Nairobi where planning meetings have already taken place. Prison officers will be inducted into AHAPPY training, and so will be spiritual guides from other denominations and creed besides the catholic faith.
“The Jesuit Universal Apostolic Preferences 2019 describe succinctly the focal points of or the bigger goal for mission of the global Jesuit Congregation. One of the fulcrums is the youth. UAP number 3 calls upon Jesuits and collaborators ‘to accompany young people to engender a hope-filled future’. The realization of this mission is more nuanced this year where all Jesuits celebrate the year of Conversion of St. Ignatius of Loyola. This unique Ignatian period challenges us to do two things; 1) Adjust the lenses through which we see the world in order to see things in a new light or understanding; 2) Search deeply and bring out new approaches and solutions to our common concerns.”, Said Pascalia Sergon.
This Ignatian year in particular, AJAN purposes to reach out to the youth in prison, starting with the Nairobi Region, in collaboration with the Catholic chaplaincy in Kenya. This, as AJAN pursues its goal of nurturing a HIV-free youth, well-rounded in growth.