Cape Town, South Africa - Young in Prison
Entering South Africa's prisons day in and day out, Young in Prison seeks to give incarcerated children in developing countries another chance. These children are caught in a deadly cycle of crime, generated by the culture of violence they grew up under and intensified by detrimental prison environments. After release, they often end up in more extreme criminal cycles, only worsening South Africa's culture of crime. Young in Prison's reintegration projects focus on creativity and sports, which provide children with self confidence and a new perspective on the values of life. Young in Prison facilitators implement innovative programs in prisons, geared to provoke open dialogue about relevant issues and personal discovery. This summer, I facilitated programs in the visual arts, creative writing, and public speaking with juveniles in Pollsmoor Prison. It was the most remarkable service experience I've ever had. Also, on the side, I studied and conducted intensive advocacy research on the cycle of youth crime in South Africa. Young in Prison's advocacy work leads towards sustainable mentality and policy changes, both in the direct environment of the youth and on a political level. This integral approach of service and advocacy pays heed to this often forgotten group of children, and hopes that one day South Africa's terrible cycle of crime will be broken.
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