Prison Fellowship International Rescues Children of Prisoners in Africa
WASHINGTON, Nov. 12, 2015 /Christian Newswire/ — The quality of life for hundreds of children in Zimbabwe is about to improve thanks to a new partnership agreement between Prison Fellowship International (PFI) and Prison Fellowship Zimbabwe. After a year of preparation, PFI’s Children of Prisoners Program launched in Zimbabwe on September 19 with the enrollment of the first 50 children.
There are 12.4 million children outside of the U.S. who have lost one or both parents to imprisonment. Many struggle to live a normal, safe, healthy life while their parent—often the family’s breadwinner—is behind bars. Over 1 million of these children live in particularly horrific circumstances—forced to beg for food, or drop out of school to work in dangerous conditions. They are stigmatized and discriminated against for being associated with a criminal.
PFI’s Children of Prisoners Program works in partnership with Prison Fellowship affiliates around the world to rescue, restore, and rebuild the lives of poor and vulnerable children of prisoners. The program ensures children have safe housing and protection from exploitation, and abuse, as well as proper nutrition, medical care, access to education, and the opportunity to develop emotional and spiritual strength.
Prison Fellowship Zimbabwe Executive Director Peter Mandianike is excited for the opportunity to care for this often forgotten margin of society. “Many deal with those in prison,” he says. “But no one thinks of what happens to the family left outside.”
The Children of Prisoners Program currently serves over 4,000 children throughout Cambodia, Colombia, Costa Rica, India, Nepal, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. Over the next three years, Prison Fellowship Zimbabwe plans to care for 1,000 children. And through partnering affiliates like Prison Fellowship Zimbabwe in other countries, Prison Fellowship International is on track to care for 20,000 children of prisoners by 2020.
CEO Frank Lofaro says, “As a father, I often think, ‘What if these were my children?’ I’m blessed to be a part of helping these precious children is such a significant way.”
About Prison Fellowship International: Founded in 1979 by Charles Colson, Prison Fellowship International is dedicated to helping alleviate the suffering of prisoners and their families, and advance restorative justice in more than 125 countries. For more information, visit pfi.org.
Prison Fellowship Zimbabwe: Prison Fellowship Zimbabwe was founded in 1986, and is actively ministering in 36 of the country’s 64 prisons.