Luzira Youth Centre Opening Celebrated With Thanks
“This is what I have been waiting for since 2005. At last I have somewhere to go!” These were the grateful words spoken by Jessica, a young female resident of Luzira Prison Complex, Kampala. This was the morning of 21st September 2018 – the day of the launch of the APP-Luzira Youth Centre, and Jessica had passed by, curious to see what the few staff putting finishing touches to the venue were up to.
The APP-Luzira Youth Centre is the result of a partnership between the Uganda Prisons Services (UPS) and APP. Set within the Luzira Prison Complex with a scenic view of Murchison Bay on Lake Victoria, the Youth Centre boasts of a meeting hall, a well-stocked and contemporarily furnished library, a counselling room, several storage rooms and a multi-sports court.
The Youth Centre has been designed to provide a focal point for youth from within the Prison Barracks and outside the prison to meet, learn and receive guidance to achieve better outcomes in their lives. For those aged 3 to 13, the Youth Centre provides easy-to-read children’s’ books to the specialist African Writers’ Series of books. As well as the library, the Centre is to host a number of health advisors for young people aged 14 to 24. They provide guidance and counselling on a range of health topics from personal hygiene and sanitation to the spread of Sexually Transmitted Diseases including HIV/AIDS.
Altogether the Prison complex hosts five Maximum Security Units (Upper, Boma, Murchison Bay, Kampala Remand and Women’s) as well as the Prison Officer’s barracks. Together it houses up to 7,000 inmates and 1, 000 Prison Officers and their families. The surrounding suburb of Luzira has a population of approximately 30, 000 all of whom are potentially eligible to access the health services provided at the Prison Medical Facility. Likewise, in a deliberate move to expand service-provision beyond the requirements of Prisoners, Officers and Staff, the APP-Luzira Youth Centre will serve the youth community beyond the walls of the prison.
Celebrating Our Achievements Together
Overseen by APP’s Dr. Florence Banoba and her Okimanyi? Health Project Team, construction started in 2017 and the work was funded by The Peter Cundill Foundation, The Jones Day Foundation, The Queen’s Commonwealth Trust and Wendy Dawson.
It opened with visitors from the UK who included Nicola Brentnall, CEO of The Queen's Commonwealth Trust, and Rev’d Rose Hudson-Wilkin, Chaplain to the Speaker of the House of Commons and Chaplain to the Queen. Nicola and Rose joined staff from APP on a visit to celebrate the impact of our work in both Kenya and Uganda.
In Uganda, they visited the new Legal Aid Clinic at Luzira Upper Prisons, before joining the opening of the Youth Centre, where they were joined by many local partners and visiting dignitaries.
Thanksgiving for the Launch of the Youth Centre
APP are thankful to Fr. Ssentomero Joseph from St. Bruno’s Church, Rev. Christopher Onyutti from St. Johns’ Church and Sheik Mulajje from Luzira Mosque leading us in prayers during the event. These faith leaders each lead congregations within the community.
We were also joined by the Norwegian Deputy Ambassador and her husband, the Head of Human Rights Desk at the EU Delegation to Uganda, the Deputy Head of Delegation at the Italian Embassy and her husband, the Vice-Chancellor Kyambogo University Prof. Elly Katunguka and Wendy Dawson.
Amongst those attending were Senior and Junior Officers from the Uganda Prison Services, including the Commissioner Custodial Services, Safety and Security Mr. Wilson Magomu, Commissioner Health Services Dr. James Kisambu, Commissioner Engineering and Estates Mr. Milton Tiyo, Prisons Spokesman & Public Relations Officer Frank Baine Mayanja, Head of Education Mr. Anatoli Biryomumaisho, Regional Prisons Commander (Kampala Extra) John-Bosco Tumwebaze, Officer in Charge Murchison Bay Prison Mr. Jacob Kivumbi, Officer in Charge Kampala Remand, Ms. Stella Nabunya, Officer in Charge Women’s Prison, Mrs. Doreen Asiimwe Kazoora, Officer in Charge Luzira Upper Prison Mr. Moses Ssentalo, Commandant Prisons Academy and Training School Ms. Brenda Sana and Officer in Charge Safety and Security Unit Luzira barracks Mr. Kwihana Jackson. Without the continued support and insight of these Prison Officers and many others, these kind of projects would never see completion.
The staff from APP who were able to join us were Dr. Florence, Health Manager at APP, who led on this project as she does on the Okimanyi?. She was assisted by Mr. Bashir Gwandaye, Project Officer for Health and Peter Tibigambwa, Country Director.
For everyone, it was a delight to enjoy the musical performance of Murchison Bay Primary School. Around 50 children provided singing and dancing during the opening, adding to the sense of celebration about what has been accomplished here.
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