By Duncan Mlanjira
Blantyre Round Table took its tradition of treating juvenile kids at Mpemba Reformatory Centre further by providing an information & communication technology (ICT) lab.
This was on top of the charitable organisation’s annual camaraderie visit to the centre of treating the kids there to a coach ride to Chichiri Shopping Mall for an ice cream treat before going back for a Christmas lunch.
They then presents various gifts before having a football game with the the kids as well as some of their teachers.
This time around, Blantyre Round Table decided to provide the ICT lab as their value added assistance to the centre for the juveniles to learn more skills on top of others such as carpentry, sewing, bricklaying and other academic studies.
Vice-chairman Andrew Loka said the value added assistance was done in order to celebrate in a special way their 60th anniversary of existence and their 59th festive season visit to the reformatory centre.
“We are grateful that the management here provided the room which we have renovated and we will soon install the computers which have already been bought but are in still in transit,” he said.
“We are grateful to all wellwishers who continue to support us in various charity work we do that includes our annual visit here at Mpemba.”
He added that despite the economic challenges most of their donors have met due to COVID-19, they still assisted with various gifts they presented to the boys that included academic materials, bars of soap, golf shirts and fruit juices.
The centre was provided with bags of maize flour, sugar, soya pieces, salt, Likuni Phala and various food stuffs.
The football they used for the game, which the juveniles won 3-2, was donated to the boys’ team as well as a volleyball and a referee’s whistle.
Loka encouraged the boys to take their studies very serious in order to graduate into responsible citizens to positively contribute towards nation building.
The centre’s Principal Mike Maulidi said though he has just been relocated their recently, he has already been appraised of the strong bond they have with the Tablers over all these years.
“So it is with immense pleasure to finally meet and interact with all of you and we really are grateful of all these gifts that you have provided— spiced by establishing the ICT lab,” he said.
“You have planted a tree that is going to assist many generations of kids that are sent here whom we rehabilitate into responsible citizens.
“This is not a place for neglected kids but a place where we inculcate into them the culture of continuing their academic pursuits once they are released.
“So, the ICT lab will go a long way to provide them with computer skills, which will also assist the staff to be conversant with ICT.”
He also said they are in the process of establishing some counseling services for the sorrounding communities on how they can nip in the bud the behaviours of their children and wards so that they should not find themselves in conflict with the law.
“Prevention is better than cure — if we engage the sorrounding communities on how they can properly raise their kids, we can reduce the intake here and also reduce juvenile crime,” he said.
He added that they also face some challenges that need to addressed such as face-lifting some of the buildings and staff houses, which are in dilapidated state.