The Luzira female prison wing has organised Christmas celebrations for its 431 inmates.
Nabunya Stella, the officer in charge of the wing, said such occasions aid in bonding the traumatised prisoners as they celebrate together.
Nabunya said the institution organises special festivities on days like Christmas to aid the prisoners bond and have a sense of togetherness.
“It helps these females to be happy . It is kind of a leisure activity,” Nabunya said.
She however said they face a major challenge of prisoners who are given long sentences.
“The prisoners on long sentences tend to pull out on rehabilitation programs but we always call them and counsel them. We tell them that when they get disciplined their sentence will be reduced ,” Nabunya said.
There are 2500 female prisoners in Uganda; with Luzira female prison wing acting as home to 431 inmates.
Of the 431 female inmates at Luzira, six are on death row while others are serving different sentences.
Barbra Nakanwagi aged 30, was in 2005 sentenced to 17 Years in prison after she was convicted of murder.
She told Nile Post how the jail has not only transformed her but equipped her with hands on skills.
“I never knew God, but in prison ,we get preachers from different churches. That word that they preach has really changed me and other inmates,” she said.
Nakanwagi, who had just completed her senior three by the time of sentencing, now beams with joy about how she is a lawyer in the making. She is one of two inmates undertaking a Bachelor’s degree in Law.
“Studying law has opened my eyes because before I did not know that a person who is convicted can apply for bail in court of appeal which is called bail pending appeal,” she said.
12 years down the road , Nakanwagi sees a glimmer of hope as she nears the end of her sentence.
Nakanwagi intends to complete her course as soon as she comes out of prison.
“I want to finish school when I go out and if I get an opportunity I want to sing,” she said.
She is the choir mistress at luzira female inmates wing. Accompanied by her fellow inmates, they sing the Christmas hymns with so much joy and hope.
These inmates are optimistic of the future. While interacting with them, they revealed how they intend to celebrate the birth of Christ.
“They provide us with special meals , play music for us and we dance and forget our problems. Even though we are in prison we celebrate like those out . We receive visitors who bring us gifts,” another female prisoner quipped in.