By JAMES APA GUMUNO
THIRTY-Four Baisu jail ex-prisoners in the Western Highlands province are voluntarily helping the Mt Hagen City Authority in its clean up drive.
“We are doing community work and at the same time helping to rehabilitate former prisoners to rejoin society,’’ chairman of the Ex-Prisoners Association Samuel Kelgai said.
“We have 100 members and the current volunteers are living in and around the city. Those living in other districts in the province will be roped in for other activities when needed.”
Mr Kelgai spent several years in prison for the robbery of a BSP branch in Mt Hagen in 1997.
“There are just too many ex-prisoners, who return to their criminal ways and return to jail. Many say they did not have any opportunity to earn money and so they return to a life of crime,” he said.
Mr Kelgai said it was the first time the association would be working with city manager Victor Megao.
“We are willing to come out and help any organisation that wishes to engage our services. Whatever money or kind we get will be used to help our members,” he said.
Mr Megao said the clean-up would cover the entire city and industrial areas while residents would be asked to clean their own backyard.
The Ex-Prisoners Association seeks funds and assistance from the Government, the Law and Justice Sector Programme and other donors to help with skills training and other resources to aid members in their return to society.
“We are working together to keep the city clean, reduce petty crimes and make the environment more conducive for business activities,” he said.
For more information, the association can be contacted on 72733102.