Friday, 1 August 2014

Koh Samui Prison Project

Gorgeous view from the ShaSa resort

Doing a good deed while on a holiday in Koh Samui has become an option for many visitors at this popular tourist destination in the Gulf of Thailand. Thanks to the creativity and concern of local socio-civic leaders, a project to help rehabilitate female inmates in the Samui jail has been launched and is now going strong with the conspicuous involvement of those visiting the island.

PKN Legal & Business Consultancy, a local legal agency, organized this undertaking, called the Samui Prison Project (SPP). The local Rotary Club is also a prime mover in this highly focused rehabilitation effort for female offenders via training, education, and community support.

Exclusive cells for mothers

Among the early SPP beneficiaries are the 'nursing female inmates' or those with babies aged below one year old. Through the assistance of the Sisters of Samui, a mother and baby unit has been created in the local detention facility.  This unit is a separate cell which provides a clean and safe environment for mother-inmates and their infants to stay in.

Another important facet of the SPP is the skill-building programs for female detainees. The training given to them includes baking and massage to improve their livelihood opportunities once they are released from detention.

Helping hand from Aussies

A mothers’ group from Australia, the Sisters from Another Mother, is one of the most avid supporters of the SPP. This group has been organizing garage sales to raise funds to support the inmates’ livelihood training activities, particularly in the baking program. With their assistance, inmate-trainees now have an oven, a food mixer, and a commercial-sized ref for their baking classes. More of such facilities can be expected in the future.

Cash donations to support SPP are just one way which Samuivisitors can participate in this laudable project. They can also serve as volunteers in the English training for the inmates as part of their skill-building. The Samui Rotary club has already initiated a fund-raising program to build a classroom for English lessons to be conducted by volunteers.  Other training programs, such as those in women’s health and computer skills, are also being eyed for this classroom.

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