Introduction day

On the first day of “Second chance” project participants from Peru, South Africa, Vietnam and Lithuania introduced each other by telling their roles in the organizations they are working in and some personal details. Played some team building and energizing games to encourage collaboration for meeting goals of the last training course. 

After the presentation of planned activities, participants worked in teams and talked about similarities as well as differences in the current youth crime and integration problems in countries they came from.

Visiting San Jose rehabilitation center

On the same day, youth workers visited Rehabilitation Center “San José”, where they met people (among them – also ex-convicts), who are undergoing the process of recovery from various addictions. Psychotherapeutic treatment combined with animal therapy, learning, communication, prayers, dancing, and singing is the main activities performed to form new habits. Participants were inspired by the kind, welcoming energy, commitment, and spirit of change they saw. Also, time spent there allowed to learn about challenges the Rehabilitation Center “San José” is facing that is preventing from meeting organizational objectives.

Creating strategies to help San Jose rehabilitation center

Working in teams allows to systematize different observations and refine thoughts on how to help a this particular organization. All the participants agreed education reduces crimes and addictions, therefore, to create a learning club among “San Jose” rehabilitation center members was suggested. This club would be called “Friend 2 friend club”, where a member with particular skill would teach others to perform it well. The need of learning English and spreading awareness were also noticed. As a result, small sports activities and tournaments, crafting fairs, and participation in social projects were suggested (that would also could help reintegrate into society after the treatment faster).  Guidelines on how to organize such activities was prepared by participants and handed to the Center’s staff.

Visiting La Nueva Semilla

Participants were invited to attend the beautiful, artistic graduation event organized by the “La Nueva Semilla” community. That was held in one of the most dangerous & poorest districts in Lima, Villa María Del Triunfo. 35 young people graduated from the training of the project “Capacitación de Talleres de Formación Artística y Liderazgo” (arts and leadership training). This organisation strongly believes various artistic, cultural and social activities play an important role in keeping youth from getting into crimes and addictions, as well as helps them to integrate into society easier. Consequently, projects related to mentioned topics are being implemented continuously and during 20 years of work helped over 15 000 young people in Lima.

Cultural night

Cultural night was spent celebrating diversity of the world. One of the best ways to get acquainted with your teammates is by getting to know the countries and cultures they came from. The evening was full of short quiz-games, laughter, dances, tastes of traditional sweets and drinks. Some of the participants dressed up with traditional clothes, played music and sang, danced traditional dances and showed presentations with the most interesting facts about their countries.

Visiting Establecimiento Penitenciario Virgen de Fátima Prison

Establecimiento Penitenciario Virgen de Fátima was the first (female) prison participants visited. Participants were welcomed by the director of the prison, who accompanied them along the whole visit and told about daily activities and conditions of offenders. Youth workers had a chance to communicate with convicted women as well as to see workshops of crafting, hairdressing, their lunch, meeting and sleeping places.

Visiting Ancon II Prison

Ancon II Prison – the second (this time, male) prison visited by the “Second Chance” team. Two programs (DeVida and CREO) are being implemented to help offenders to adapt and form different perspectives on their lives in Ancon II Prison. Positivity, hope and opportunities are the key words in both programs. Participants of the training course saw daily routines, communicated and had a chance to attend dance performances of offenders. The convicts appeared to very talented, and at the same time, extremely happy that they could demonstrate that to a number of foreign visitors. It was upsetting to see so many young people behind the bars, however the education process of learning new skills and progress they are making there seem promising

Visiting Centro Penitenciario Quencoro Prison

Visiting Centro Penitenciario Quencoro, the third prison of the training course, was a different experience compared to Ancon II and Establecimiento Penitenciario Virgen de Fátima. This prison has enormous space and more than 3000 prisoners, who are allowed to walk freely. It seemed like a separate village with their own culture, a lot of various workshops and learning classes. You could meet many people talented in art, handcrafting and woodwork. Participants of the training course were welcomed with a traditional Inca dance and ceremony, as well as official reception. It seemed that accepting a group of visitors from all around the world was a big thing for them, which enlightened their routine. 

Evaluation and reflections

On the last day of the training course, participants shared their feedback about the programme & activities. Each one of them confirmed they had unforgettable social, cultural and learning experiences related to local communities, youth, crimes, addictions. They also mutually agreed that introducing new habits by being involved in various activities might help the convicted ones integrate. 

Participants also gathered into session for brainstorming ideas on how wellbeing conditions of visited prisons might be improved. Ideas were based on a few of the main problems participants saw: lack of safety clothing for work, basic wellbeing resources, absence of educational and self-care routines. In the end of this session, reports with observations & suggestions of the “Second Chance” team were issued (to be later presented to the authorities of each prison). 

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