A grassroots project initiated by Bashiru Adamu
Dream Again Prison and Youth Foundation (DAPY) is a not-for profit organization geared towards transforming prisons in Nigeria from an institute of punishment to an academy of positive change. DAPY teaches, trains and equips inmates with knowledge and skills they need to become useful, productive and functional individuals in their community. Our mission is to ignite in them a new self worth, a mindset that eschews crimes and invariably overcome re-offending or relapsing into crime.
Otukpo, Benué State, Nigeria
Prison and Ex-offenders Rehabilitation
Adamu Bashiru is a social entrepreneur, a life coach and a catalyst for positive social change. He works with prisoners and youth in Nigeria. He wants to address and decrease rates of recidivism by empowering and inspiring prisoners and youth, and by cultivating the culture of critical thinking, life skills, self reflection and peer mentoring.
Having escaped from the imprisonment of his mind, via reading motivational and inspirational books which empowered him to overcome insecurity, low self-esteem and the ability to speak good English; today he has been helping young people, especially prisoners in Nigeria to have access to library education and vocational training i order to prepare them for a productive and crime-free life upon release.
This dream started to live in 2012 with establishment of the first functional library in Otukpo Minimum Prison, Benue state, Nigeria, West Africa. With book donations from a network of friends and supporters, the library currently has more than four hundred (400) books and still counting, with a high hope of reaching our five thousand (5000) book target for every prison library across Nigeria. Today, Otukpo prison which has a maximum capacity of one hundred and eighteen (118) inmates and one hundred and fifty seven staff members benefits from this facility, and from an access to information and knowledge that supports re-building of self-confidence and self-worth within the prisoners.
We pledge to keep this dream running throughout all of Nigeria’s prisons. We promote prison systems where the primary purpose is rehabilitation and not retribution. We encourage and support the development of programmes which enhance effective rehabilitation and preparation for release of inmates. These programmes are aimed at reducing, even preventing re-offending, protecting society and rebuilding lives. We build the capacity of prison authorities and staff to recognize and address the rehabilitation needs of prisoners in their care and to prepare them for release.
As of July 2016, we have reach two prisons with total of eight five (85) prisoners and have trained directly thirty prisoners (30) with life skills. We have also provided after care service.
Our library is run by the welfare officers in the prison, and it serves both the prisoners and warders.
In early childhood center, I was the only staff member but today we have three staff members, three Ambassadors, and four strategists. Potentially, we are open to all two hundred and forty (241) prisons across Nigeria with the population of sixty one thousand inmates both convicts and awaiting trials as of November 2015.
Our program runs in three progressive stages, each of which is designed to instill the aims of our mission. These stages include:
1. Pre- vocational/Rethink: One of the major causes of crime among youth is low self-esteem. Rethink is a journey into oneself. Students/inmates are coached and helped to look inwards and discover their innate potential and its possible benefits, and to direct their passion towards developing them. This “mind renewal” process is achieved through motivational talks, debates on topical issues among inmates, team work, public speaking, movie shows, leadership, counselling and feedback sessions. Our aim through the pre-vocational stage is to help inmates rethink and reinvent themselves to see beyond criminal behaviour. This stage helps them to develop into a productive member of the society.
2. Vocational/Reform: Bureau of Statistics measured that the current youth unemployment rate is over 25 percent (March 25, 2014). At least 25 million of Nigeria's 100 million young people are unemployed. The current unemployment rate in Nigeria leaves youth vulnerable to all kinds of social vices. At the top of the list is criminal behaviour and the end result is prison.
Our aim is to ignite the entrepreneurial spirit in prisoners through teaching social and life skills. With this in mind we empower students with skills that will require little start-up capital upon release. Our life skill training includes:
•The art of storytelling
•Making Air Freshener
3. Re-enter/Re-integration: The unique set of psychological changes that prisoners are forced to undergo in order to survive the prison experience takes a serious toll upon their successful reintegration into society. Re-offending rates are increasing every day. This is largely due to the post traumatic stress of imprisonment. During the Pre-vocational stage, we arm inmates with the skills needed to rise above the societal stigma that often greets them upon release.
In July 2016 we were able to secure donation of one thousand books by Purple Foundation for our prison library.
Together with the support of APIC and CATALYST we have secured a plot of land where our office will be built.
Website www.dreamagain.org.ngFacebook: https://m.facebook.com/dreamagainfoundation/
Life as we know it at Dream Again Youth Foundation is all about a second chance; to live contented no matter how little is one’s means is a wise way of staying out of trouble. To be worthy with an open heart, to study hard and think quietly are key ways of finding oneself. Thus, for our effective Social Reintegration which is the hallmark of Ex-convict Reformation at Dream Again, we ensure you acquire a means to a decent livelihood as you pursue your greater dreams.
Here’s the story of ex-con C.E.P who spent six years and two months both in Makurdi and Otukpo prisons and during his sentence he joined Dream Again Academy in 2012:
His passion for learning and acquiring leadership skills while in prison, led him to become the Secretary of Dream Again until his release in November 2014. As a leader of the foundation among inmates, he helped in coordinating and organizing sessions for students (prisoners), taking attendance and ensuring they were well behaved. Upon release, C.E.P showed great interest in farming. With the help and support of Dream Again Prison and Youth Foundation and IDOMA Progressive Movement, he was able to get sponsorship to study Organic Farming in Saki, OYO STATE. Part of his studies focused on the construction of green houses using local materials; growing different vegetables in green house; marketing skills and farm management. C.E.P will graduate in August 2016! He qualifies to serve in the following capacities:
1. A competent, trained and experienced farm manager
2. An agricultural extension officer and worker
3. A green house construction consultant and trainer
4. A certified facilitator in organic farming
5. A leading farmer in organic breeds and vegetables in his locality
6. A great role-model for youth and prisoners
7. And a lot more!
“When we educate and train a prisoner, we make the society safer and better for all.” This is our drive! That is our passion! Let’s join our energies together to transform seeming liabilities into great assets for our society. And yes we can. Please do not give up on anyone.