While many uninterested in the conditions of prisons, or the state of prisoners for that matter, spiritual leaders and faith-based organisations are trying their best to heal those “broken” souls who have harmed and wronged society in various ways. This has culminated in a three-day spiritual care expo to be held at Pollsmoor Prison in Tokai from 6-8 November 2019. The expo is hosted and endorsed by the Department of Correctional Services.
Pollsmoor Prison spokesperson, Lewis Davids says that they are looking forward to the event and are eager to see communities come out in their numbers to attend. He stressed the importance of spiritual programmes for inmates, saying that the department of correctional services cannot achieve true rehabilitation of inmates without societal support and buy-in.
“It will be our very first one and our target audience is all the spiritual leaders and organisations in the city involved with mending the ‘broken pieces’. We believe that when and where so many people have failed and someone lands up in prison, spiritual care can pick up the broken pieces,” said Davids.
“For someone incarcerated, it’s very difficult for that person…but with support structures from organisations, they can pick up their lives again. These programmes are ultimately very important – correctional services cannot do the work alone. We believe in rehabilitation… We say that correction and rehabilitation is a societal responsibility, which means we need organisations to come on board and take hands with correctional services to fix the broken lives.”
Shaykh Moejahied Levy, the director of the Noorani Assidique Foundation involved in the spiritual healing of inmates in the Western Cape, said their work has had a huge impact on the inmates.
“Our involvement started last year with a feeding scheme in Westridge with one of our directors, Mualima Faldelah, who was a spiritual care worker at prison for about two to three years. Because she only sees to the female units, we saw a need for males as well,” he said.
“With that reason and that in mind, we then registered as an organisation and we did an application through the department of correctional services to not just come in as spiritual care workers but actually as a service provider.
With the idea of being a service provider we have structured programs where we go into prison, sit with inmates, follow the programme and do an assessment after every programme to ensure that they’ve followed and completed the programme,” said Shaykh Levy.
“Society has forgotten people once they’ve been incarcerated and that is when they actually need us as a community and ummah to be there for them and assist them, giving them the guidance of their wrongdoing and showing them the way back to the right path.”
Davids indicated that nearly 40 different organisations will be in attendance with exhibits and that the public is invited and encouraged to attend. The event starts from 9am and ends at 3pm and will host several speakers, including Judge Siraj Desai.