GIS - 7 November 2014: The Mauritius Prisons Service has set up a music room at the Correctional Youth Centre (CYC) for boys and a choir at the Women’s prison at Beau Bassin. To mark the event, Airports of Mauritius Company Ltd (AML), through its Corporate Social Responsibility funds, made a donation of Rs 324 000 worth musical instruments yesterday at the Prison Training School.
The Vice-President of the Republic, Mrs Monique Ohsan-Bellepeau; the Chief Executive of AML, Mr Serge Petit; the Senior Chief Executive of the Prime Minister’s Office, Mrs K.O Fong Weng-Poorun; and the Commissioner of Prisons, Mr Jean Bruneau were present at the launching ceremony.
The Music Making project for the setting up of a music room at the Correctional Youth Centre for boys is an initiative of the Vice-President of the Republic. The project aims at fostering discipline, good behaviour and character building among juveniles. It also meets provisions outlined in the 10-year Strategic Plan of the Prisons department to introduce extracurricular activities for the benefit of juveniles in custody so as develop their personal skills and address their entertainment needs.
A choir has been set up at the Women’s prison with the aim of bringing back women’s natural enthusiasm, spontaneity and happiness. For accompaniment of the singing practice, an organ and a guitar have been made available to participants.
Music classes at the CYC started in July 2014 with a dozen juvenile boys and 30 women detainees from the Women’s prison with the assistance of Mr Percy Appadoo, director of “Ecole de Musique Arpège” and four qualified music teachers from the “Ecole de Musique” who held weekly music classes at both institutions.
In her address, the Vice-President of the Republic, Mrs Ohsan-Bellepeau, said that the project aims to further improve the development of inmates through music. She recalled that the musical instruments will help juveniles to learn music in a scientific and disciplined manner.
The Chief Executive of AML expressed his deep appreciation for the different projects set up at the prison aimed at the rehabilitation and reinsertion of the inmates. He recalled that in 2009, his organisation funded the setting up of a garment making unit at the Prison through the acquisition of sewing and embroidery machines.
The project has been very successful, 31 inmates and seven Prison officers have been trained from 2009 to 2013 in garment making. Furthermore a batch of 25 inmates and seven Officers have sat for the Mauritius Institute of Training and Development examinations out of which 20 passed with distinction, 12 scored ‘credit’ and three inmates were ranked first at national level.
For his part, Mr Bruneau pointed out that the Music making project is another achievement in the quest of the Prisons Service for rehabilitation and resettlement of inmates. “We firmly believe that the skills they will acquire will encourage them to develop self esteem and provide them with opportunities to become professional musicians and singers once they are released”, he said.
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