Props to Wadadli Pen judge Brenda Lee Browne on her volunteer work at Antigua and Barbuda women’s prison, giving the inmates a creative outlet and a sense of their own power and potential with a pen in their hand.
The programme is getting rave reviews and will hopefully receive the funding it needs to keep going. Here’s an article on the programme. And given her generousity with her time with respect to this programme, it wouldn’t be out of order to mention Browne’s for-hire services as writer and writing coach. While others – *clears throat* I – continue to drag their feet on putting together the long planned follow up to my previous writing workshops, Browne has waded into the deep end with Just Write. Props to her for that as well.
Meantime, I hope to have more on the prison programme, including some of the work produced by the Fantastic Five, for posting on this site. But wanted to give them a mention asap as the women have had their programme graduation and the facilitators are now seeking paint and other supplies for creation of a library in the women’s section of the prison to encourage the ladies to continue reading and writing.
Unrelated but not unconnected is the work of Optimist Club of St. John’s also at 1735, the colloquial name for Her Majesty’s Prison of Antigua and Barbuda. Their latest effort involved creating a library in the prison proper.
Here’s hoping both programmes get the funding to underwrite all the planned initiatives and maybe pay a stipend to the likes of Brenda Lee and the volunteer teachers being recruited by the Optimists to cover various subjects (Math, English, IT, Spanish, Integrated Science, and Social Studies) in the prison.
Contact Gender Affairs (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you wish to support either programme. And I hope you do.