Corporate Barbados and citizens across the country are being encouraged to give their support to the Angel Tree 2016 programme, and bring smiles to children of prison inmates this Christmas.
Minister of Home Affairs, Adriel Brathwaite, made this call last Saturday, during the launch of Prison Fellowship of Barbados’ Angel Tree 2016 programme in the Grand Salle, Central Bank of Barbados.
“This is an initiative that I want to use my voice to encourage corporate Barbados, and all Barbados, where possible, to assist because I have no doubt that this means a lot not just to the children, but [to] the inmates to be able to give a gift at Christmas,” he said, while stressing it was worthy of support.
The Minister thanked those present for their unwavering and continued support, noting that the programme was a testimony of what Prison Fellowship does.
“I want to say thank you publicly for all the persons involved in ministry, for all the tremendous amount of work that you have been doing in this country to help transform the lives spiritually and holistically of those you come into contact with,” he said.
He also urged them to continue offering support to ex-offenders where possible, and to give them a second chance to avoid them returning to the criminal justice system.
Member of the Prison Fellowship of Barbados, Elder Patricia Edwards, said the organisation believed that the children of this land were the future.
“We also believe that the children of the incarcerated are very likely to be problematic, unless someone steps in to help them. We believe that when we help children whose mothers or fathers are in prison that we are not just helping them, but we are also investing in the long term future of our communities and by extension our nation,” she stated.
Noting that worldwide, Prison Fellowship International worked for the spiritual, moral, social and physical well-being of prisoners, their families and victims of crime, Ms. Edwards said one of the goals was to provide Christmas cheer, hope and love to children with parents in prison through the Angel Tree project.
Other goals include reducing the degree of recidivism among ex-prisoners; providing inmates with hope for a positive future based on a belief and reliance on God; and assisting ex-inmates to reintegrate into civil society and become skilled, self-employed persons.