South of Hawassa lies the poverty-stricken city of Dilla. In Dilla you notice the prevailing poverty everywhere, including in prison. The prison consists of a large men’s section and a small outbuilding, which is the women’s prison. There is hardly any work for the prisoners and at night they have to take a turn to lie down because there is not enough room for everyone to sleep at the same time.
Children also live in the women’s section of the prison. They have done nothing wrong, but their mother has committed a crime and there is no one else who can take care of them. Some of those children were born in prison and have never known anything else. For them there is only one way out, namely waiting until they are 18 to leave the prison. Without any form of knowledge, education or resilience, they will end up in normal life.
In the past, the prison children of Dilla did not have access to education and weren’t allowed to leave the prison at any time. There was simply no money to take care of the children. Let Us Change changed that eight years ago. We support the prison children by offering them clothing, toys and education. In September, all children who are old enough to go to the Don Bosco school in the neighbourhood. This way they are better prepared for a normal life and they will be able to integrate faster in society.
In the future, we also want to help the women in prison by teaching them crafts so that they learn a new skill and they will be less bored. A total of around a hundred women and twenty children are helped by Let Us Change.