Writing behind prison walls

Lae News, Normal


BUIMO jail in Lae, Morobe province, will be the first prison in the country to pilot a writer’s workshop for their inmates.
The workshop was launched yesterday at the Buimo prison grounds.
It is jointly-funded from the Bible Society of Papua New Guinea and facilitators from the University of Papua New Guinea.
The participants of the workshop will be encouraged to write short stories either in their vernacular, Tok Pisin or English.
Doris Omaken, project coordinator of the prison literacy programme of the Bible Society of Papua New Guinea, said this was an enrichment workshop for literacy teachers who have been trained under the Bible Society’s literacy programme within the prison.
“It is also an opportunity that is being given to the prisoners to follow a different path in life and to show them a different way of expressing themselves,” Ms Omaken said.
During the opening Dr Steven Winduo, one of the facilitators, said: “Writing is therapeutic and people should be encouraged to write about their life experiences.”
Dr Sakarepe Kamene said they would be using a new training technique called the evolving method to encourage the participants to write.
Dr Kamene and Dr Winduo, both lecturers at the UPNG language and literature department, have been using variations of this new training technique for 12 years with different target audiences.
A similar writer’s workshop that was held for three days at the Waria village, Morobe province, resulted in a book being published and it is hoped that a similar result will be achieved at the end of this two-week workshop.
Of the 25 participants, two are women prisoners and eight are Correctional Service officers.