Mothers and Children in Prison

Visits to women’s prison

According to a newspaper report from the beginning of 2023 (Pagina Siete; February 9, 2023), there are almost 25.000 people living in Bolivian prisons built for 6.765 prisoners (exact number according to “Regimen Penitenciario”: 24.824).

This corresponds to an overcrowding of 366%. In one of the women’s prisons, workers of the Soforthilfe visit women and their children to support and bring them necessary food, nappies and hope. Due to the pandemic and the fact that visits were sometimes not possible during this time, a great need for help has accumulated here.

Das Projekt Chance 2.0

Who wouldn’t like a second chance if they missed, overslept, messed up or simply didn’t take the first one? Who wouldn’t like a second chance if you didn’t get a first one because you were born into poverty and disadvantage, violence and being at the mercy of others?

The poverty of one’s own family often makes it impossible to attend school regularly, younger siblings have to be looked after by their elders. Not only the mother, but also the children have to work in order for the family to survive. The misery is compounded by drugs, violence and abuse within the family. In the best case scenario, the children are taken into care and placed in a children’s home. Here they are given a regular daily routine, schooling and psychological support as a first chance for a better future. In recent years, emergency aid has also had to place such neglected children in children’s homes.

When they reach the age of 18, they are now adults and want or have to leave the children’s home, which is no longer responsible for them. In most cases, there is no family that would take them in. For some time now, our emergency aid has therefore started to support these young adults for at least a year, whether it be in finding and renting a room, completing their A-levels, starting an apprenticeship or course of study or looking for a temporary job. Our project is called “Chance 2.0 – Gift Future”. This is their second chance, which they gladly accept. We currently have two young men and three young women in the program. The demand is there. Both young men and women in juvenile prisons ask us, as well as women who have served a sentence in a women’s prison and are allowed to leave prison with their children from one day to the next. They are grateful for the opportunity to reintegrate into society.

Three former prisoners and their 13 children have already completed the program and only need encouragement and support from time to time, while a young woman from the juvenile prison and her two children have also managed to stand on their own two feet. They have seized chance 2.0.

Demand is growing, and so are the costs.

Donations that we are happy to invest, because: Wouldn’t we also want such an opportunity for our children?