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Judge mobilises aid for young prisoners

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Following concerns of challenges rocking Kachere Rehabilitation Centre in Lilongwe, High Court Judge Fiona Mwale on Sunday led a team of well-wishers that donated assorted food items, firewood and tablets of soap to the young offenders.

The centre, which currently keeps 229 young prisoners, is crippled by lack of funding, and mostly relies on people of goodwill to at least operate optimally.

Judge Mwale, who is also chairperson of the Child Case Review Board, said she decided to mobilise the resources after an earlier visit to the correctional facility where she was told some of the problems it was facing.

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Lilongwe Midnight Prayer Warriors and Kairos Christian Centre members contributed towards the donation, and more well-wishers had reportedly promised to aid the rehabilitation centre.

Judge Mwale said while looking at the legal side of issues regarding the young offenders, she also has the responsibility to ensure their welfare is being prioritised.

“I was here on Friday trying to access the situation of Ethiopian migrant children who are in this facility and the Officer in Charge complained about various problems. She told me that they were really suffering because of the rains.

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“They did not have enough firewood and were having problems with cooking because the kitchen is an open shelter with just a roof, without walls,” said Mwale.

She added that after going around the facility, she thought something needed to be done quickly.

“Although the prison does not have enough food, for the little that they have, cooking is a problem. So that is basically what motivated me,” said Mwale.

A child rights activist, Habiba Osman, who was among the well-wishers who aided the prison, bemoaned the pathetic condition of the facility, which she underlined seriously needs to be looked into.

“The status of the kitchen is pathetic and there is need for a new one. Government and all stakeholders, including donors must do something about this. We are talking about lives of children and they have to matter like lives of all people,” said Osman.

Inspector for Kachere Rehabilitation Centre Cosmas Chibwe praised the team that made the donation and appealed to more well-wishers to support the prison by constructing a new kitchen with two electric pots, among others.

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