Lifesong Kenya was formed in 2010 and registered as a community based organization in 2013. The organization is a supportive community that empowers teenage boys exiting Kamiti Youth Correctional Training Centre by providing employable skills through its REAM Program.
Research shows that boys who exit prison with employable skills have better chances of overcoming stigma and rejection from family and the community. Employable skills also help in reducing recidivism and reoffending.
When crime or offence occurs, relationships are damaged, lives are broken, opportunities are missed and alienation happens.
This being so, Lifesong Kenya aims at involving wrongdoers, victims of crime and the community in reconciliation, healing and making amends through restorative justice.
- Capacity building through ICT training, soft skills and providing employable skills
- Coaching and mentoring
- Healing and reconciliation
Our model is based on the parable of the Prodigal Son where the wayward son is welcomed back by his father in a gesture of reconciliation that leads to healing, restoration and our understanding that God is merciful and forgiving (Luke 15: 11 – 32).
The whole Bible – from Genesis to Revelation – contains a thread of God’s strategy of reconciling man to Himself through healing, forgiveness and redemption through Jesus Christ.
The teenage boys that Lifesong Kenya works with have committed crimes and mistakes that have hurt their relationship with the community around them.
Since they are already atoning for their mistakes by being in prison, they need healing, reconciliation and mending of broken relationships.
That’s why our program is vital for their well-being and that of the community they are reintegrating to.
Last year, Lifesong Kenya managed to graduate more than 50 boys from our ICT and job preparedness program. After remaining in touch with 4 boys who are right now finding their feet in the community, we discovered we needed to do more. That is how we decided to focus on restorative justice.
By involving offenders, families and the people they have hurt, we will achieve greater impact. It helps offenders know they are going back to a community where they have been forgiven and accepted with open arms.
This model has not been used before at the prison and when we tabled it at the beginning of this year, it was readily accepted.
Empowering boys with employable skills, character development and job preparedness and involving the people they have wronged – most of the time their own family members – will enable Lifesong Kenya to reduce reoffending and crime rates.