By Liteboho Letlatsa

Activate Pathways company has partnered up with Clear Roadway Rehabilitation Non-governmental Organisation (NGO) to introduce new programs to help in reducing the increasing gang membership (manomoro), crime, rehabilitation of prisoners and Victim Offenders Dialogue (VOD).

The director of Activate Pathways who is also a partner at Clear Roadway Rehabilitation, Mamello Lekomola said both companies came to a realisation that programs offered at Lesotho Correctional Services (LCS) do not include rehabilitation. She said they will be working together with Lesotho Defence Force (LDF), Lesotho Mounted Police Services (LMPS), psychologists and social workers.

Lekomola explained that Clear Roadway Rehabilitation is a new organisation that was formed in January this year.  Their main focus is on reducing gang membership and crime. She said they started this organisation because it appears these gangs are now becoming accustomed to schools.  She said there are ex-cons who were once “manomoro” who will be assisting in talking to children as they know the jargon used by this gang. She highlighted that this gang has their own way of communicating which ordinary people may not understand thus former members will come in handy during the rehabilitation process.

Lekomola added that the organisation plans to go into prisons to provide rehabilitation to prisoners. She said there will be programs to prepare perpetrators for the real world again. “There will be programs specific for certain offenses wherein certificates will be provided after completion,” she asserted. She mentioned that among others, a sexual offense prisoner will be counselled by a professional who will provide them with a certificate to indicate that particular person is fit to be around society again.

These programs will aid prisoners to get employed after their release and employers to not be reluctant in hiring ex-cons as they will be assured that they are in the right state of mind to work. This she believes will reinstate hope in prisoners and encourage them not to go back to the life of crime.

She described Victim Offenders Dialogue (VOD) as a program whereby victims get to meet their perpetrators in order to get closure along with psychologists and social workers overseeing the whole process. Six months before their release she explained that prisoners and victims will undergo the process of VOD to prepare the victim for the release of the perpetrator. She highlighted that victims are not inclined to attend if they do not wish to.

Furthermore, she said Activate Pathways was established in 2015. Lekomola said here they provide training for everyone including ex-cons who never completed high school to carry out research work at various skills levels. She outlined that they will offer graduate internship training and placement process. “We will provide mentorship for high school students where we will hold forums and invite professionals from different career paths to advice learners on career guidance,” she described. The program, she explained will help learners know there are more career options to pursue and encourage entrepreneurship. Introducing career guidance in primary schools to groom children at a young age for the cooperate world will be part of their program as she explicates.

In addition Lekomola mentioned that they are looking for sponsors locally and internationally. She added that they are also hoping to have a green house where they will hire people from their programs.