The Lesotho Red Cross Society (LRCS) this week celebrated World First Aid Day by training Lesotho Correctional Services (LCS) inmates in Maseru on first aid skills that will help them in emergencies both in and outside prison.
The training was part of LRCS’s initiative to contribute to the rehabilitation of inmates. The participants received certificates in first aid.
According to LRCS senior first aid instructor, Moeketsi Lethoko, the theme for this year’s World First Aid Day is ‘Addressing exclusion through first aid’, which informed the decision to reach out to inmates who are one of the excluded sections of society.
“We are a bit late as World First Aid Day is marked on September 14. We decided it was best to share it with inmates because we appreciate the importance of first aid, especially in a prison set up.
“I am really glad that we came here today because we know that accidents happen everywhere and people end up dying, not because of the severity of the accident itself but because there is no none to administer first aid before a victim is seen by a doctor. Choking is one example of such accidents. This is why it is important for everyone to know first aid,” he said.
One of the inmates who took part in the training, Rethabile ‘Mathata, said it has been a worthwhile experience for prison inmates to be trained on health related matters as they need them most.
She thanked LRCS and LCS for the thoughtful gesture, given that inmates are usually ostracized and treated as outcasts.
“We can now use these certificates to find jobs when our time comes to leave prison. We will also help people in need of emergency help. This will help smoothen our reintegration into society; we may have made mistakes but we are still human beings who deserve a second chance,” ‘Mathata said.
Another inmate, Tumelo Marai, expressed appreciation at the opportunity to be taught how to save people’s lives.
“It is a big responsibility to know about first aid because, in times of accidents, it will be your choice to choose if you want to help the person in need at the time or not. Now we can get out of here with a skill and a certificate to prove that we are more than just prisoners,” Marai indicated.
LRCS president Silas Mosuhli said the relief organisation chose to empower inmates as a gesture to make them feel that, despite their situations, they are still humans capable of making a positive contribution to society.
“With these first aid programmes, LRCS is trying to teach people to be disaster-prepared so that if anything happens at any time they are able to take control of the situation. This can help save many lives. We therefore thank Lesotho Correctional services for allowing us to come here to train inmates,” he said.