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The Prison Ministry began in 2013, after Rev. Prof. Ivy Drafor Amenyah was invited to be part of one of their services at the Senior Correctional Centre, Accra. “When I saw the inmate choir leading praise and worship and singing with joy, my heart melted”, she recounted. “I was so touched, and I shared a testimony with them”, she added. That was when the ministry started.
After launching the 1st edition of her book, ‘More than Treasures of Gold’ in (2013) she was advised to donate copies to all the inmates at the Senior Correctional Centre (SCC) and to some of the officers. There were close to two hundred inmates at that time and we donated copies to each of them and to all the officers on duty. We also donated copies to the officers at the James Camp Prison, which is a main prison at Roman Ridge Accra. Their joy was inexpressible.
Rev. Prof. Ivy Drafor Amenyah sought permission to meet with the boys for Bible studies, which was granted. This is how the weekly Bible reading and discussions began in the prisons. We have enjoyed my time with the boys and learn a lot from discussing issues with them. Different people supported her when it started. These include Mr. Ohene Danquah and Richard Nunana Asiamah. They stood in for her on days when she was not able to go.
In December 2013, we organised our first party for the boys. We served packed rice with some drinks. In 2014, we served 140 portions of packed rice and chicken and 6 packs of Kalyppo drinks. We also made gifts of 120 pieces of soap and some bathroom slippers.
Beginning in 2015, we started serving them with fufu and goat light soup, which they do not get to eat throughout the year. We added some plates of banku with okro soup made with chicken. She insisted that each person gets two good-sized pieces of meat. As we planned for 2018, one of the senior officers told Rev. Prof. Ivy Drafor Amenyah, “You are the only person who gives them fufu. So, let the fufu be more than the banku.” That year, we served 220 plates of fufu and 120 plates of banku, making a total of 330 plates.
We also began renting sound equipment from 2017 and inviting gospel musicians to provide them with a memorable experience. The 2019 party was filled with so much joy.
With time, many individuals began contributing generously to support the Fufu Parties to put smiles on the faces of these vulnerable boys. Their contributions have pushed us forward and enabled us to continue with the work. We look forward to growing our support base.
The activities of the prison ministry started by Rev. Prof. Ivy Drafor Amenyah was formally registered as a Charity NGO in 2020 called Regain Hope. Our hope is that, with the creation of Regain Hope as a formal organisation, our programmes will be more coordinated, and possibly extended to other prisons in the country.