Luzira Women’s Prison
In 2010, Heart of God Africa joined forces with Life Transforming Prison Ministry. Through the combined efforts of both organizations, and our on-site director, Saphan Muhanguzi and his wife Alex, God is able to glorify himself. Life Transforming Prison Ministry was founded to improve the welfare, health and education of detainees in Africa.
The experience of being in prison in Africa is extremely different from that in developed countries. From the justice system to the facilities, the experience of just visiting, let alone spending decades in prison, can be frightful. We were able to sit with the women in different groups and hear their testimonies of what it’s like to be a woman in prison.
Women with babies, or those that arrive pregnant, are forced to give up their children at 18 months of age. While the authorities claim that babies are taken to a nearby day care, we were unable to substantiate the claims and the women were in a position that they could not speak freely. One claim provided by trustworthy resources, was that children are taken and left outside the prison gates and left to a well-wisher or other unknown source. Many never know what happen to their children.
The women in prison are eager to learn. Many of the long-term prisoners are the primary teachers. Access to books or learning materials is severely limited. Many cannot read or write. To have an opportunity to learn is a great blessing as this will most likely be their only chance to receive an education that would enhance their chances to find work should they be released.
Many of the women in prison are infected with HIV/AIDS, TB or other health related issues. Medical services within many of Africa’s prison are inadequate. The facilities are overcrowded, unsanitary and women have poor hygiene. Many prisoners that need medication for severe health related issues are unable to take it. Meal time does not coincide with medication time. Due to extreme stomach pain from taking the medication alone, the inmate chooses to skip it.
Our team is committed to assist the women with humanitarian supplies, education, medical needs, while uplifting and encouraging them through Bible studies and workshops. Our future goals would be to supply them with free legal aid, assist them in building a library and education center, rehabilitation, and to provide shelter upon release.
God’s call for these women is that none should perish without having eternal security. Although in their current situations life seems to have no security, we can and will point them to the One who will always offer it!
Needs of Prisoners
Unlike prisons in the US, those in Africa provide only the bare necessities to sustain life. Our on-site director, Saphan and his wife Alex, go into the prison each Tuesday and they are able to engage with the women and make the needs known to our support team.
Mukene is a highly nutritious silver fish that we have been able to provide. It’s especially helpful to pregnant and lactating mothers, as well as AIDS/HIV positive women. Ground nuts are another good source of protein for their diets.
The women have all expressed the need for blankets for themselves and their infants as well as thermoses to keep food warm and available for times when medication is needed or when infants need to be fed. Other critical needs are feminine hygiene products for daily and monthly use, clothing and shoes for release of custody since they are unable to leave the facility with their prison uniform … if they have nothing, they leave with nothing.
Please consider helping the women with their basic needs. Many of these women have only been accused of a crime and have never been to court or formally convicted and sentenced … many have spent 15 years or more incarcerated based on an unsubstantiated charge, more common than not. The women need an Advocate and to know He loves them and cares about them, especially when they have been rejected by family, friends and villages. Jesus Christ, the Great Advocate, is made real to them through our ministry of the Word and the provision of basic needs. Your partnership in this incredible outreach is greatly appreciated!