Kigo Prison: School headmaster

Kigo Prison Headmaster My name is Hassan (not his real name), I was born in 1976 in the Mpigi District - Central Uganda. I have always been interested in teaching, so it was a natural fact that after completing my education I became a teacher myself. Education is the best way to improve the circumstances under which you are living and to increase the chance for a paid job because unemployment in Uganda is high.

In 2008 I had an argument about a boat, but found myself accused of having sex with a girl under sixteen. So at the age of 31, I found myself convicted to imprisonment for thirteen years and I will be released on 9 September 2018!

Coming to Kigo Prison I found the Primary School inside the prison in poor condition with only 15-20 students, so we asked for possibilities to revitalise it. Together with the Kigo Prison Welfare Department we gathered more inmates who could help in some form of teaching. Soon many more inmates joined educational training as students; both people in remand waiting for their trial as well as convicts, people which were send to prison by court. Being idle is one of the worst things in prison; nothing to do with loads of time to think about your problems. Another challenge in Uganda is the large number of adult people being illiterate, so adult education as we perform in Kigo Prison is addressing a large need. In a short period 'Kigo Prison Reformatory Primary School' as we called it, grew very fast, so we had to select who could apply: long term remands waiting for trial for illegal possession of fire arms, defilements and robberies plus convicts. This to bring stability to the school population as well as to cope with the shortage of scholastic materials. In a short while we were educating over 130 inmates!

In the meantime we also started a Kigo Prison Secondary School. From the start with only S1, we have now expanded up to including S3 and hope for expansion every year till we have reached a fully functional Secondary School.

So far we make use of inmate volunteer teachers to liberate other inmates from ignorance, and to be honest to keep myself busy as well. So I keep negative thoughts of why I am in prison away and instead focus on helping others and on a better future. For some time we now have a uniformed school manager from Uganda Prisons Service (UPS) as also UPS is now more and more focussing on correctional activities to transform inmates during their stay in prison.

Our biggest continuing challenge is how to improve the quality of education. There is simply a need for everything. Together with the Kigo Welfare Department we are building education up from nothing. No chairs, no blackboards, no exercise books, pens, chalk to study books. Since Second Chance Support (SCS) started their activities in Kigo Prison we have new hope for a better future. The school should be registered officially so we can get official school teachers and scholastic materials from the Ministry of Education and Sports. This required the buildings to be upgraded drastically and to provide decent furniture, a renovation which is ongoing at fast pace. Apart from the basic education SCS will also provide us with a Study Centre so inmates can start reading and obtain computer training instead of being idle.

We want to thank the Supporters of SCS for their continued support to the education of inmates of Kigo Prison. With your help we can transform inmates to law abiding, self supporting and contributing citizens.