Many people refer to prisons as places of condemnation rather than correction centres. A prison in Western Lakes – with the support of Nepalese peacekeepers — has embarked on a campaign to change this perception through the introduction of sports activities for their inmates.
Responding to pleas from the jails in the area, Rumbek-based Nepalese peacekeepers serving with the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) have completed the construction of a badminton court at the South Sudan Western Lakes Prison in Rumbek.
The objective of the prison officials is to keep inmates physically and mentally fit and active, and for the prisoners to have better stories to tell the outside world after serving their sentences.
Major Joseph Majak, a senior superintendent at the prison, welcomed the court and the badminton equipment.
“This is fantastic. Sometime back we talked to UNMISS to give us facilities to help start-up sports activities for prisoners. Today they have responded with badminton. Now we are waiting for volleyball materials,” said Major Majok, who expressed his appreciation for the generosity of the Nepalese peacekeepers.
Prisons authorities in the area have a plan to offer their inmates other sports disciplines, like soccer, perhaps to establish a club in the future.
Nepal is the largest contributor of military and police personnel to UNMISS with more than 2,100 currently serving in South Sudan. The ‘Blue Helmets’ main responsibility is to ensure the security of the local population. This additional activity by the contingent was greatly appreciated by the inmates and the prison authorities.