Because of Corona restrictions, the Langata maxiumum security women’s prison in Nairobi hasn’t received any visitors for more than three months. Apart from basic food, the prison is no longer supplied. There are now huge shortages of essential goods, like soap, toilet paper, shampoo, and underwear. These items are normally brought in by the relatives of the inmates. Those who do not have a family, depend on the sense of solidarity of their fellow prisoners. In normal times, the few supplies brought in by family members are distributed among many women. Now that this flow has stopped, the situation is critical. The most urgent scarcity? Panties! 😅
I believe that any woman in the world, free or imprisoned, rich or poor, can imagine what it’s like not to have any underpants. And imagine being locked up; your undies are over-washed, shared with your fellow inmates, or they ‘disappear’ from the clothesline.
Together with the Kenyan Foundation Crime Si Poa (Crime not Cool) we donated 1,350 knickers in all shapes, colours and sizes, to over 400 women! With four full bags, we drove to jail. Margaret, the prison chaplain, awaiting us. We were allowed to drive through the heavily guarded gates, to hand over the tiny but oh so essential pieces of cloths to the security lady guards.
Later on we received photos of smiling ladies and girls in their striped prison dresses… so happy, they had never owned three undies, just to themselves!