Prisoners at Maghaberry Prison have produced 60 braille books for children in South East Africa.
A consignment of books, including Walt Disney’s Peter Pan, Jungle Book and Bambi, as well as Roald Dahl’s The Giraffe, the Pelly and Me, have been presented to three church charities for distribution in schools in Malawi, Tanzania and Kenya.
In what is now the only Braille workshop in Northern Ireland, a team of around a dozen prisoners, mostly life-sentenced, have been working together over a six month period, to produce the books. Pages of braille were created on special washable material and book covers manufactured by the prisoners before each was individually bound.
Head of the Northern Ireland Prison Service, Ronnie Armour, said: “This is an excellent example of how prisoners are making a real difference to the lives of people through rehabilitative activities.
“These are some of the poorest countries in the world and poverty is an everyday reality. These books will prove invaluable to schools which have very limited resources and I know the efforts of prisoners who have produced them will be appreciated by the children and teachers who will use them.”
Braille Instructor at Maghaberry, Mark Mooney, added: “This is the only braille unit in Northern Ireland and the guys work extremely hard. It’s very intricate work but all undertaken with great enthusiasm and dedication. It’s an opportunity for the guys to give something back to society.”
The books in braille were presented to Gary Moore from Labour in Faith and Trust (LIFT), for use in a school in Tanzania; Heather Clements from Limavady Presbyterian Church who will share the books with missionaries in Kenya, and Roberta Moore from Finvoy Presbyterian Church which has long-established links with Ekwendeni Primary School in the northern part of Malawi.
Notes to editors:
1. Maghaberry Prison is the largest of three prisons that make up the Northern Ireland Prison Service. Maghaberry is the only category ‘A’ high security prison and operates as the committal prison for all adult male prisoners. Footage of the Braille Unit is available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gj9a3b-AOVM
2. All media enquiries should be directed to the Department of Justice Press Office 028 90526444. Out of office hours please contact the duty press officer via pager number 07623 974383 and your call will be returned.
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