Education for inmates

23rd August 2021 | Blog

Salifu Dambuya teaches adult education at a male correctional facility in Freetown, Sierra Leone. It’s his job to help inmates develop their basic education – from teaching the alphabet and mathematics to beginners literacy. Salifu told us more about his work, the people he supports and why he thinks prisons need more educational support. 

“There are adults here who have never been to school. So for them, I assist them to at least be able to read and write. Some come from a poor background, they never had people to take care of them and encourage them to go to school. Education helps you understand bad from good, and because many have never been to school, they commit crimes because they do not understand. 

This is why we create the opportunity for them to be able to learn, so that when they are out they will be able to be responsible for themselves and their community.

If they are able to read and write, when they are out it will help them.

New books are important because presently, I am the one who is going out to buy books. The prison can’t supply them all, but they are very important, especially for beginners. Most of the books we had were too advanced, we need books for beginners. 

Learning to read can help someone in their future. For example, me now, if I didn’t go to school, you give me a letter – maybe the letter may affect me, I won’t know. So I just leave it. If I can read it, I will know what it will say and know what to do with it. So what we are doing is very important.  

There is now a large range of books to choose from

The thing is, we need more books. Most of [the prisoners] want to come in and come to class, but we limit them. We started with 13 but more want to come in but the problem is the material. Especially learning materials, teaching materials and writing materials. This is why we limit ourselves to such a number.”

By supporting us today, you can help to reach classes like Salifu’s access the education they need to change their lives.