Young in Prison SA
Young in Prison (YiP) was founded in February 2002 by a Dutch woman, Noa Lodeizen, after she worked one year as an intern for a South African NGO in the youth section of Pollsmoor Prison in Cape Town, South Africa. Since then, YiP has grown into a young and active organization, which has its head office in Amsterdam, Netherlands and has active branches in multiple countries, such as South Africa, Colombia and Suriname, and is still growing. Recently, the South African branch of Young in Prison has become an official South African organization and is in the process of becoming an independent organization.
YiP believes that children don’t belong in prison, but while they are imprisoned, they have the right to positively develop themselves. The organization wants to create a movement of people giving support to children in prisons worldwide.
YiP seeks to support youth ages 14-18 who are incarcerated through offering art and educational workshops, and through these workshops facilitate the procurement of lifeskills. Through these workshops, YiP hopes to foster expression, as well as offer role model relationships and help secure the youth with skills which will aid them in reintegration into society for after they are released.
Currently, YiP South Africa (YIP SA) runs 2 funded programs within Pollsmoor prison (one program in the female section and one in the male), as well as a Post-Release Program for youth who have participated in the YiP SA program on the inside of Pollsmoor, and who have been subsequently released. Through this continued support, YiP SA hopes to encourage the youth to stick with their commitments to lead a positive lifestyle in order to interrupt the cycle of incarceration which plagues many young people who are fed into the penal system.
The two funded programs which YiP SA offers inside Pollsmoor follows a 1.5 year cycle in which they youth participate in 3 phases: a poetry phase, entitled You!sa, and a subsequent “radio” program, entitled Homeza, in which the youth have the opportunity to record their poetry pieces onto a cd. The third phase consists of the Post-Release program in which the participants meet once every two weeks with a personal life coach who caters the program to the individual needs of the participant he/she is working with.
In addition to funded programs, YiP SA also offers volunteer-run programs in Pollsmoor and Bonnytoun House of Safety. In 2007, YiP had 6 additional volunteer programs which ran for approx. 12 weeks each: a soccer program, a literacy in English program, a literacy in Afrikaans program, a matriculation tutoring program, a drama program and a visual arts program.