AdvocAid wants to empower marginalised female ex-detainees who may otherwise become further impoverished and who risk discrimination and violence after their release from detention. It is our aim to ensure that these women are equipped to transform their lives by giving start-up support and membership of our post-prison support group, the Go Bifo Women (meaning 'moving forward' in Krio).
It is common for women who have been imprisoned in Sierra Leone, for even a short period, to be ostracised and shunned from their families and their homes. They are released to a reality where they have lost all of their possessions and income, driving them deeper into poverty and making them vulnerable to coming into conflict with the law once more. Yet in Sierra Leone, there is hardly any rehabilitation programmes or post-prison support to enable women to reintegrate into their communities.
AdvocAid will provide post-prison support to women through our social worker to address acute needs for counselling, start-up stipends and specific welfare items, and - if we raise enough funds - to help ex-detainees get a job or (re)start a business. To increase self-reliance and boost confidence of female ex-detainees we also aim to organise a broad range of activities for members of Go Bifo, for instance skills training and experience-sharing meetings.
It is our experience that when female ex-detainees are self-reliant and confident, then they will be better equipped to transform their lives and stand up for their rights. Our post-prison support programme will reach at least 300 former detainees, ensuring that they rehabilitate into their communities as stronger women with brighter prospects.