Inmates learn to grow food

Translate Page

Inmates at a prison in Harare, Zimbabwe, have learned to grow food through a program organized by The United Methodist Church and the Zimbabwe Prison and Correctional Service.

This year, 17 inmates at Kentucky Prison graduated with certificates in horticulture after completing the one-year nutritional gardening course.

The program, which receives other support, aims to provide prisoners with the knowledge to grow food while they are in prison and after they are released, said the Rev. Simon Matara, connectional ministries chairperson of the Harare East District of The United Methodist Church. Matara spoke at a May graduation program.

“I want to thank all the partners in this program for coming up with a brilliant idea to equip our inmates who can now grow their own food as supplement to the normal rations and also use the skills later to their benefit,” he said.

He said that although inmates were entitled to free food provided by the government, the economic situation in the country meant the prison system faced difficulties, which was why the prison and correction system wanted to offer the program.

Luke Mhere, chief correctional officer in the Zimbabwe Prison and Correctional Services, said the institution has adopted an approach to equip inmates with skills rather than simply punishing them. Mhere said equipping inmates with skills can help them successfully rejoin society and live as law-abiding citizens.

“If one acquires some life skills while in prison, it returns the confidence required to rejoin the society,” he said.

One of the beneficiaries, Moses Makina, said the acquiring of horticulture skills was a milestone in the lives of prisoners.

“As prisoners, we are delighted and we have seen that there is no condemnation in being a prisoner, as our lives will never be the same,” he said.

The one-year program started in 2016 with the growing of potatoes, tomatoes, onions, carrots, butternuts, cabbage and cucumbers, but was delayed when the institution faced some challenges with its water supply. The inmate gardeners had to reduce the size of their gardens to save water, so they graduated in May instead of December.

Chingwe is communications coordinator for the Zimbabwe East Annual Conference.

News media contact: Vicki Brown at (615) 742-5470 or [email protected] To read more United Methodist news, subscribe to the free Daily or Weekly Digests. 


Like what you're reading? Support the ministry of UM News! Your support ensures the latest denominational news, dynamic stories and informative articles will continue to connect our global community. Make a tax-deductible donation at ResourceUMC.org/GiveUMCom.

Sign up for our newsletter!

UMNEWS-SUBSCRIPTION
Evangelism
Kurai Baureni, a member of Ebenezer United Methodist Church, leads a community Bible study class in Chitungwiza, Zimbabwe. The Chitungwiza Marondera District trained 40 class leaders through the Community Bible Study International program, and today there are 161 classes functioning. Photo by Priscilla Muzerengwa, UM News.

Community Bible study helps church make disciples

Church members in the Chitungwiza Marondera District in Zimbabwe are studying and spreading God’s word in their communities with the help of international Bible study program.
Mission and Ministry
Dr. David W. Scott. Photo © Hector Amador.

Political context and the meaning of church

A pending separation and changing international composition find The United Methodist Church in a time of rethinking what it means to be a church, and a global church at that.
Mission and Ministry
A new outpatient department, funded by a United Methodist Board of Global Ministries grant, houses many departments and consultation rooms at Old Mutare Mission Hospital in Mutare, Zimbabwe. The facelift of the over 100-year-old institution includes a kitchen, a 120-panel solar system and a comfortable indoor waiting area for patients. Photo by Kudzai Chingwe, UM News.

Zimbabwe’s Old Mutare Mission Hospital gets a facelift

A state-of-the-art outpatient department, kitchen and 120-panel solar system are among recent additions funded by the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries’ Global Health unit.