Mr. Jack, Ms. Anna and I attended NGO Forum 2016 cum Outstanding NGO Volunteer Award Presentation Ceremony on behalf of Prisoners’ Friends’ Association (http://www.pfa.org.hk/) on November 22, 2016 at Li Dak Sum Yik Yio Chin Academic Building, City University of Hong Kong. The theme was “Join Hands to Reduce Crime.”
At present, more than 80 NGOs work closely with the Correctional Services Department (CSD) to play an important role in rehabilitation work. Our diverse services include religious activities, group counselling, participation in major festival events, interest classes and cultural activities.
There were welcoming speech from Professor Alex of City University of Hong Kong (http://www.cityu.edu.hk/); opening speech from Mr. Yau, the Commissioner of Correctional Services; speech by Dr. Ho, the Chairman of Merchants Support for Rehabilitated Offenders Committee Limited; keynote speech “From Punishment to Rehabilitation and Community Engagement” by Professor John of Institute of Criminology, Victoria University of Wellington-New Zealand; cutting cake to celebrate the 10 years’ Cooperation between CSD (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hong_Kong_Correctional_Services) and CityU; discussion and sharing on “Join Hands to Reduce Crime” by Ms. Yeung of TWGHs Even Centre, Mr. Kong of Caritas Community Support Project on Inviting Men Against Sexual Offence, Mr. Chan of HKFYG Youth Crime Prevention Centre, and Mr. Daniel of Catholic Diocese of Hong Kong Lay Prison Evangelical Organization, which have 16 small groups; Presentation of Outstanding NGO Volunteer Award and Social Networking Lunch. All of us also received cookies, made by the inmates, as a gift.
Several volunteers and I received the Outstanding NGO Volunteer Award. Each NGO can nominate three volunteers to get the Award by submitting the form, which should be filled by nominating NGO and the person to be nominated.
My prison ministry started by visiting Putonghua speaking inmates in Lo Wu Correctional Institution on January 9, 2012 and then on July 2012, I started to visit Tai Lam Institution Centre for Women. I visit Indonesian, Putonghua and English speaking women inmates. I usually ask questions and listened to their sad stories and offer to pray together. Several of them didn’t want to talk a lot, several of them wanted to talk a lot, even wanted to meet again. One or two of them could share their stories with smile, several of them were in tears most of our time together. Several of them couldn’t sleep well, most of them could eat well. After a while, they have a chance to work either in the kitchen, laundry, etc and get a sum of money to buy their basic needs.
As a PFA member, we visit inmates who don’t get a visit for least three months. The social welfare officer calls the inmates to meet us, one on one, in a room. I usually meet an inmate for once and rarely meet them for the second times.
I do know I only can do simple things in our short encounter: being presence, listening to their stories, answering their questions, and praying with them, sometimes I couldn’t hold my tears as they were in tears.
Hong Kong, 22 December 2016
Sr. Anastasia B. Lindawati, M.M.
Let’s do simple things with simple love to make God’s love visible