Recognizing the need for reform,,, and the great loss and disadvantage that young children experience with their father’s imprisonment, The Children’s Ark made a firm decision to partner with Debbie Jacob’s, ‘wishing for wings’ programme, in the POS Royal Gaol.
This is a pilot prog. wheby we hope to extend a similar one within the women’s prison.
The Children’s Ark has demolished 12 old colonial cells on an upper level at the prison. With the guidance of architects, we are constructing a library which will be outfitted with furnishings etc ,, complete with recommended books for the library.
With fathers reading to their children and children reading to their fathers, this prog. would create /recreate a special bond with the inmates and their children, as well as a literacy programme.
With the assistance of a kind supporter of TCA, much of the funds needed will be put towards the cost of the facility/prog. which will be just under $ 200k.
Completion is expected before the end of 2016.
The Library / Reading Room has been built and equipped by The Children’s Ark to provide the venue, books and other equipment needed to operate the program by Wishing For Wings (Debbie Jacob) whereby at regular intervals, fathers will read to their children and /or children will read to their fathers.
Credit must also go to Debbie Jacob for developing and running such a needed program. The partnership between The Children’s Ark, Wishing For Wings and the TT Prison service under Commissioner Sterling Stewart has indeed been a very successful partnership.
It must be mentioned that the space used to construct the facility was previously occupied by persons in ‘DEATH ROW CELLS.’,,, awaiting the execution of death sentences passed on them. Ironically, the inmates themselves demolished the cells to accommodate the facility.
This provides a dramatic indicator of at least one way in which our society can truly claim to have progressed.
TCA considers this project a very important one, as we recognize the need for reform and the great loss and disadvantage that young children go through with their father’s imprisonment.
The breakdown of family life often lies at the root of the problem. This initiative creates bonding with fathers and their children while engaging in an educative activity, which will surely bring substantial benefit not only to fathers and children but also to their families and the society as a whole.
The Children’s Ark are currently in discussions with constructing a similar Library / Reading room at the Women’s prison in Arouca.