In coordination with the Rotary Club of Beirut, we organized a team of ophthalmologists to visit the main men's prison of Beirut. They brought all their instruments, including a computer, and hundred of pairs of glasses which the inmates received free of charge. It was a big inspiration to all the prisoners because many as 80% were in need of eye glasses.
We also had a meeting with the wives of the Rotarians and spoke of the needs at the women’s prison and they pledged to help with all the needed electrical equipment: washing machine, dryer, TV, video machine and stove.
At the same time we also delivered boxes of clothing for the women and six boxes of miscellaneous foodstuff.
At the Roumieh Prison, the main penal centre in the country, we provide a free English language course to provide inmates with the opportunity to invest their time constructively, and upon their release, a broader base to start their lives over again. This is a program that we undertook in 1998, and although it originated with the need to help inmates fight boredom, it has now become a pillar course in the prison. Three of the honor students took turns giving speeches in English, with everyone impressed by their ability to convey their feelings in a second language. The students expressed their gratitude to Family Care volunteers and their “in-house” teachers, the educated men who regrettably found themselves in prison but who decided to turn their ill fortune to the good of others. One of them, S., is a University Graduate in Physics and has now been a volunteer teacher at the prison for 3 years.
An interesting fact: Whatever their religion, we have found that a common factor is that every person in prison has questions for and about God. With respect to their individual religions, we encourage them to speak to God and commune with Him and He will provide the answers they need. Many inmates have testified they have found a renewed faith and relationship with God after being in jail.
In prisons for men, as well as women, we work to better the inmates' living conditions, in addition to supplying nutritious food, clothing, dental and eye care, as well as legal counsel. Additionally, we initiated a micro enterprise program in the men's prison, the manufacturing of clothing and handicrafts. In turn, local businessmen have pledged regular orders from the prisoners, which gives the inmates access to regular income.
At the women's prison, we have someone who volunteered to teach the women how to sew, and to make certain crafts, likewise empowering them to earn an income. They are undertaking the production of innovative greeting cards, as well as Brazilian bracelets which are very popular among the youth here. Through exposing these products at exhibitions, they are marketed and sold.