It is Hands to Hearts’ goal to serve the most disadvantaged people, living in the most dire of circumstances. With this always at the forefront of my mind, when we recently needed to conduct some practice HHI trainings in the northern city of Lira, Uganda, I asked if we could train within the women’s prison. We drove past this prison everyday on our way to work with our colleagues at Medical Teams International and after learning that a number of the women here have their babies in the prison with them, I became slightly obsessed with making HHI available to them.
Since HHI only shows up by invitation, we began by letting the prison management know who we were and that we would make ourselves available to the women and children in their care. The officials were very enthusiastic and quickly extended an invitation for HHI to show up to lead a short training for the mothers.
Our national Master Trainer, Mukisa Lydia, led a small training team to the prison, where we expected to work with the 10 mothers who had their babies with them. But, as often happens, more of the women wanted to participate. What began as one training for only 10 women, quickly transformed into two trainings for all of the inmates and even the guards showed up and asked to participate. The women almost desperate for information, they were eager learners and asked lots of great questions. The women were so interested in the lessons that they convinced the guards to postpone lunch and extend the time the HHI Trainers were allowed to stay.
The end result of that first day was that over 40 women and 10 babies participated in several HHI lessons. The outcome was that the local HHI Trainers, via Medical Teams International, will continue to go to the prison regularly to meet the request to provide the entirety of HHI’s lessons.
Lydia put it beautifully as she described, “they received a healing”. I can only imagine the babies felt the same way.