The Art of Knowing

Why do people allow their hope to wither away? There’s a misconceived perception that we are not capable enough to achieve what we desire in life. For inmates, restrained freedom coupled with stigma may easily be taken to be the lost essence of life. If this ‘weed’ is allowed to grow in the mind, it can easily consume our inherent ability to thrive in different spheres of life.

Without denying Rumi credit for his illustrious knowledge, we can as well restate his pearl of wisdom by stating that, the art of knowing is knowing what to get ourselves acquainted with. 

Rumi, a famous 13th century Persian sage, theologian and Sufi mystic, offers this insightful advice to anyone who desires to take control of their life by resetting the lenses through which they visualize their situations or circumstances. Even though this scholar lived more than 807 years ago, his insights still resonate with modern day dilemmas that entangle our thought processes. 

Many people grapple with decluttering their mind; with deceptions and misconceptions shuttering their novel ambitions. Prisons easily rank high amongst environments that are perceived to breed pessimistic misconceptions that are birthed by the vast stereotypes that circulate in the society. The dread that is associated with prisons alone can make incarcerated individuals lose hope in life. This therefore warrants measures that are fashioned to mend the pessimistic aura by patching inmates’ minds with hope through various rehabilitation programmes.   

Hope can easily be lost if the mind is allowed to be drenched with negative thoughts. The mind can be the most dangerous battlefront anyone can ever encounter. If we think about it, it is not a surprise that many people grace the face of the earth and leave without having pursued their desired goals and ambitions. With lost hope, many drift through life, surrendering to the waves of life, waiting to see where next the waves will offshore them. 

Joyce Meyer in her book “How to Win Daily Battles of the Mind” states that “the toughest enemy to fight is the one we don’t know about”. In many situations, the enemy tends to be the misconceptions we unknowingly feed our mind; this tends to mark the beginning for lost hope.   

Therefore, it is imperative to learn how to renew our minds, an opportunity NAFISIKA TRUST has graciously taken upon itself to help in the renewal of individual’s minds in the society through the various training programmes it offers inmates and officers. While it may be unlikely for inmates to totally ignore the prison environment, it can prove helpful for them to renew their minds daily by engaging in substantial activities. 

To begin with, the name Nafisika (Swahili) means “To bring out into well-being”. Instead of accepting the various stereotypes that are associated with prisons, NAFISIKA TRUST visualizes prisons as a place of hope and transformation and therefore has a mission to restore, rebuild and transform the lives of inmates while simultaneously making efforts to break the misinformed societal stereotypes about inmates and prisons in general.  

Through various rehabilitation and skill building programmes, NAFISIKA TRUST partners with Kenya Prisons and various stakeholders to offer inmates practical skills and education to prepare them for employment or various entrepreneurial ventures they may decide to undertake once they are released. Inmates who get an opportunity to be inducted in the training programmes therefore have a choice, to ignore the negative characteristics that may be associated with the space they habituate in by committing themselves to diligently renew their minds by drenching themselves with vast insights the training programmes avail to them. This helps inmates to prevent their minds from falling into despair through the misconception that their lives have reached a dead end. Therefore, for inmates, this is the art of knowing, knowing what to ignore and what to allow to illuminate their minds. 

NAFISIKA TRUST dedicates itself to enlighten incarcerated persons about the bright future that awaits them once they serve their time. Therefore, once they are released, inmates who graduated from the various NAFISIKA TRUST training programmes confidently step back into the society knowing that they are acquainted with the art they can utilize to earn themselves a decent living, co-exist with other members of the society and reach for the stars!

Written by Edinard Asiligwa

Communications and Research Intern|| NAFISIKA TRUST

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