A Borstal is a type of correction center for persons under the age of 18 who have been convicted of criminal or civil offences. The time that a youth spends in the center is aimed at reforming the youth offender so that they can reintegrate easily into the society upon release.
On October 1st 2018 we made a visit to the institutions with the Oshwal Mahila Mandal Organization. The aim of this visit was to see the situation at the institutions and find out the best suitable areas for intervention. It was clear that there was a great need for improving the informal education that is offered to the youth at the correction centres.
In the Kamae Girls Borstal Institution, the girls that are admitted, usually between the ages of 15 years old to 18 years old, have the opportunity to gain skills they can use in the real world upon release through the the formal and informal education provided. The informal education includes beauty and cosmetology which entails learning how to do hair, manicures and pedicures as well as giving massages. If interested, the girls can choose to sit for the beauty therapy exams from grade 3 up to 1. Another area of informal education includes a workshop where they can make crafts like beaded jewelry, crochet and knitting, beadwork, mats, sewing, knitting and dress making that they can sell and make money whilst feeling empowered. An IT certificate class is also available to them through a partnership with Zetech University.
The Beauty Centre workshop lacked major essentials such as a cosmetology kit for each student interested in sitting for the beauty therapy exam, there were no massage tables or a private space for practicing massaging and hair products and supplies were not enough. However, in spite of that the girls eagerness to learn was not swayed. This was also reflected in the crafts workshop. There were 4 sewing machines that were all broken down but the girls were diligently sewing dresses by hand, even though they lacked a good selection of fabrics, their creativity was clearly shining through.
Touched by this, the women of Oshwal Mahila Mandal made a donation of a variety of things such as books for their library, clothes, supplies for their crochet crafts and they also committed themselves to giving the informal education specifically the Beauty Centre a complete makeover. They hope to motivate and show the girls that they are loved and cared for. They also committed themselves to repaint the walls at the Kamiti Youth Correction and Training Centre.