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Our story

Dream Again Academy empowers inmates in prison to constructively utilize their and energy while in incarceration to add value to them.

According to a 2010 study of recidivism in Nigerian prisons conducted by Dr. Chiedu Abrifor of Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye, Ogun State, there has been a persistent rise in the trend of released ex-convicts going back to crime in recent years. The rate was 35 percent in 2007, 44 percent in 2008 and 52.4 percent in 2010.
Benson Iwuagwu (Punch Newspapers, 2015) said that a fairly recent study of which he was part of showed that the rate of recidivism stood at 68 percent as at November 2015. In other words, out of every 1,000 individuals convicted and sentenced to prison in Nigeria, 680 will likely be back behind bars after release. (Source: Punch Newspapers, November 28th, 2015)

Going to prison should not be the end of your life, it should be the start of a new beginning“, this is what the foundation believes.

We set up library in prisons and with our progressive educational program that runs in prison; we help inmates in

prison to constructively utilize their time and energy to add value to them so that when they are released, they can become asset to their family and our nation at large.

This dream starts to live precisely in 2012 with establishing the first functional library in Otukpo prison, Benue state, Nigeria, West Africa. With book donations trickling in from quotas, with a high hope of reaching five thousand (5000) books target for every library the organization establishes for each prison across Nigeria, and later beyond. The organization was officially registered with the corporate affairs of Nigeria in 2014

We are to converting prisons into places of potential and self-discovery, empowering the prisoners to believe in their human worth and dignity and to informally educate themselves while they are doing their time. This is with the ultimate goal to reduce recidivism and the overall rate of crime in society.

Transforming prisons in Nigeria from punitive to effective correctional facilities.

To educate and train prison inmates, whom we call students, equipping them with leadership and entrepreneurial skills as well as a new mindset that eschews crime.

HUMANITY, EMPATHY, PRISON EDUCATION, ACCOUNTABILITY AND SERVICE

  • We promote prison systems where the primary purpose is rehabilitation and not retribution. We encourage and support the development of programs that enhance effective rehabilitation and preparation for release of inmates.  These programs are aimed at reducing and, if possible, preventing re-offending, protecting society and rebuilding lives.
  • We advocate for penal policies that focus on rehabilitation and reintegration and provide for effective and gender-sensitive programs inside prisons and after release.
  • We seek to work with national governments, criminal justice professionals and civic organizations to develop rehabilitation programs inside and outside prisons, designed to assist former offenders to lead law-abiding lives on release.
  • We build the capacity of prison authorities and staff to recognize and address the rehabilitation needs of prisoners in their care and to prepare them for release.
  • We deliver training workshops and develop training materials which reflect general standards and regional contents, and include a focus on the rehabilitation and reintegration of prisoners.

For over eight years now we have worked with inmates starting with Otukpo Custodian Centre.Today, we are in Igah Custodian Centre, Gboko Custodian Centre, Medium Security Custodian Centre Kaduna and Medium Security Custodian Centre Kiri Kiri Lagos. Our focus is to work and establish firmly our work in about 20-30 prisons in Nigeria that will in turn serve as a template for other organizations working in the correctional space.

  • Our Program
  • Payment Of Fines
  • Aftercare Service

We have a progressive educational program that runs in three stages:
1. Prevocational (Rethinking process to engender in our students superior self-esteem and noble dreams).
2. Vocational (Practical learning of life skills, entrepreneurship).
3. Re-entry (Effective Social Reintegration).

After all three are executed, we also carry out aftercare service (ACS) for ex-cons.

 Pre-vocational/Rethink: One of the major causes of crime among youth is low self-esteem. Rethink is a journey into oneself. Students/inmates are coached and helped to look inwards and discover their innate potentials and possible profits thereof, and to direct their passion towards developing it. This “mind renewal” process is achieved through motivational talks, debates on topical issues among inmates, team work, public speaking, movie shows, leadership, counselling and feedback sessions. Our aim in the pre-vocational stage is to help inmates rethink and reinvent themselves to see beyond criminal behaviour, develop into a personality of worth and contribute to nation building.

  • Vocational/Reform: The National Bureau of Statistics puts the youth unemployment rate as of 2014 at over 25 percent(March 25, 2014).

At least 25 million of Nigeria's 100 million young people are unemployed. The current unemployment rate in Nigeria leaves youth vulnerable to all kinds of social vices, not the least of which is criminal behaviour, and the end result is prison.

Our aim is to ignite the entrepreneurial spirit through learning social and life skills in prison. By so doing, we empower students with skills that will require little start-up capital upon release. Our life skill trainings include among others-

  • Photography
  • Making of cufflinks
  • Videography
  • Web design
  • Graphic design
  • Programming
  • Coding
  • Paint Production

Re-entry /Re-integration: The peculiar set of psychological changes that prisoners are forced to undergo in order to survive the prison experience takes a serious toll on their successful reintegration into society.  The tendency to relapse into crime is on the increase among ex-convicts.  This is largely due to the post-traumatic stress caused by imprisonment. During the re-entry/re-integration stage, we arm inmates with the skills needed to rise above the societal stigma that often greets them upon release.

As a way of decongesting the prisons, our organisation, with the support of our partners, also facilitates payment of convicts’ fines, which leads to their release from prison. So far, we have paid the fine of 51 inmates and they have all been set free.

Our aftercare service is a forum for mentoring and counselling ex-cons to help them effectively reintegrate into the society. This always takes place in our office and via telephone communication. By both means, we encourage most of our students to be positively engaged.

 Recidivism and repeat crimes are always high among ex-cons.  This is so because very often, notwithstanding that there are some ex-cons who are warmly welcome and received by their families, most ex-cons don’t have a place to go to after prison.

Through this program, we have helped a number of our students to learn a trade in farming and/or fashion designing, and today, they are doing well.

Connect with our team

Founder & CEO

I’m a social entrepreneur with eight years of experience in building a non-profit from the scratch. My journey into the social entrepreneurship space started through my community development project as a Nigeria Youth Service Corps (NYSC) member in a semi-rural community in Benue State, Nigeria. As a corps member, I set up the first library in Otukpo Prison, a prison that was built in 1923. Starting with just a single prison in Benue State, today, our team operates in six different prisons in three different states in Nigeria through my organisation called Dream Again Prison and Youth Foundation. We help inmates to constructively utilize their time and energy while in incarceration to add value to them towards preparing them to becoming better people and productive members of the society.

I hold a Higher National Diploma from Abdul Gusau Polytechnic, Talata Mafara, Zamfara State. I’m a member of the Institute of Strategic Management, a member of the Institute of Public Diplomacy and Management and a member of the Institute of Customer Relationships Management. I also hold a diploma in Psychology.

I undertook a seven-month training in social entrepreneurship at the Kanthari International Institute of Social Entrepreneurs, India. I have training experience of over six years from Catalyst, a social change makers community.  I’m an alumnus of Leap Africa Social Innovators Program 2014/2015, and of Lagos Business School Non-profit Leadership Management Program, I was part of the first Econet GoGettaz 2018 five-week internship experiential learning internship program in Zimbabwe organized by Dr. Strive Masiyiwa. I’m also a certified coach with Open Door Coaching Australia.

My life goal is to help prisoners escape from prison, not physically but mentally through setting up libraries in jail.I also seek to achieve this by the Dream Again Academy program that I style the ‘3Rs’, meaning Rethink, Reform, Re-enter.

I believe that the richest place on Earth is neither the oil field in Iran nor the goldmine in South Africa, but the prison yard because in the prison yard, we have men and women with potentials that are more valuable than oil and gold.It’s my desire together with my team to empower the incarcerated towards harnessing their potential, so that they can discover, develop and learn how to deploy these potentials for self and national transformation.

When we educate and train a prisoner, we are making the society safer and better for all

 

My contact in 2012 with Bashiru Adamu, Initiator of Dream Again Prison & Youth Foundation, I believe, was divine. Working with the government for 15 years and having to move and work through communities and interact with youths, I discovered, among other factors, ignorance, low self-esteem, idleness and poor education to be strongly connected with juvenile offences and crime generally. Research has shown the same to be among the factors responsible for recidivism—the repeating of or returning to criminal behaviour by the same offenders. Prisons around here in Africa have scarcely helped the situation as they are more a punitive than a correctional or rehabilitationset-up.

As I dreamt and thought through setting up at least mini-libraries in communities to engage literate but idle youths, I ran into this young, passionate initiator who, among other projects, was already setting up the first library in prison, invariably transforming prisons in Nigeria from punitive to correctional facilities through specialized training, skills acquisition and empowerment of prisoners to become assets in and out of prison to themselves and the society. Wow! I became interested and committed to contributing my little efforts to his foundation’s causes. 

The experience has only gotten better, brighter, bigger, and even more challenging by the day. I am so grateful to God and to Mr. Bashiru for the privilege to be part of such a noble and great work whose impact is far-reaching. Humanity can only be the better for it. 

We believe when you train a prisoner, you make the society better and safer for all of us. Get in the partnership train today!    

   JAMES A. EDOGA, Humanitarian change catalyst and humourist, is a career and relationship counsellor and author of the classic ‘Stop Ducking the Eagles’. He coaches individuals and teams to attain both personal and professional success. He is a husband and father with a passion for inspiring humanity towards emotional wholeness & wellness and for raising a soaring solution-driven generation.

I retired as a corrections specialist with Washington State Department of Corrections in 2014. From 1986-88, I served as a community corrections officer in Oregon, where I was Lead Pre-sentence Investigator for the Superior Court. In Washington, I served as Unit Assignment Officer, Disciplinary Hearings Officer, Warrant Officer, Training Specialist, Master Trainer, Risk Assessment Specialist and Prison Supervisor.

Research has demonstrated what experience showed me: education is by far the best correctional investment. Moreover, we know that former inmates who succeed express a shift in identity. Who they are for themselves has altered. Who they will be for the community only remains to be seen.

I believe Dream Again Prison and Youth Foundation is doing ground-breaking work with inmates. Since my first contact with the program, I’ve stood solidly behind it. I’m honored to be a part of this exceptional work.

During my tenure in Washington,I graduated summa cum laude with departmental honours from Hunter College CUNY in 1974. I grew up in New York City. I’m married. I have three children and 3 grandchildren (with one on the way)!

is an executive director/content developer for Braw International Limited.She is also an ambassador for Dream Again Prison and Youth Foundation. She is a writer, educator, humanitarian, composer and a singer who loves to teach and inspire on moral living. Ene has a strong passion for media, writing and teaching.

In 2011 and 2015, she volunteered for summer school coaching classes just to teach young ones and impact them positively, thus contributing her quota to human development.

Ene is a worthy ambassador of Dream Again Prison and Youth Foundation. She believes strongly in the academy and shares in its objectives and values. She is also working to achieve them by dedicating her time, knowledge and resources to the cause. She has visited the prison in Otukpo and is presently promoting the values of the Academy as an ambassador in Lagos, Nigeria, while makingconcerted efforts to see Nigerian prisons transformed.

Ene holds a master’s degree in International Relations, a degree in Information Technology from Stratford University India and a degree in Business Management. She has a PGD in Film Making/Journalism from AAFT (Asian Academy of Film and Television), where she graduated top in her class. She also has an NCE (National Certificate of Education), as she has always loved teaching.

She believes in her philosophy, ‘one day at a time and one person at a time’, and is working hard to affect the globe through this philosophy. She will keep shining her little light, doing the best she can for humanity.

Ruth Oyinyoza Adamu is a Nigerianteacher, a linguist and a catalyst for positive change. She works with children/youth and is committed to helping them boost their self-confidence and self-worth.

She is an ambassador and a board member at Dream Again Prison and Youth Foundation and a facilitator at Dream Again Capacity Building Initiative DACBI). She believes that when we train a child right, the society will be alright.

She is now working towards building a school where children will be helped in finding their paths early in life by involving them in participatory learning, critical and analytical thinking, and instilling in them the right mindset to dream big and to live their dreams.

With more than 20 years in coaching, management and leadership in Asia Pacific and being a Professional Certified Coaching (PCC)-credentialed coach with the ICF Global, Mel desires to empower leaders and ‘future leaders’ around the region.

As Founder and Principal Coach at Asia Pacific Institute of Coaching (APIC), he trains ‘future coaches’ throughout Asia with the Australian Government-accredited International Coaching Federation (ICF) program (at two levels – the Certificate IV & Diploma in Workplace/Business Coaching). He conducts this training in partnership with the OpenDoor Coaching Group, Australia. This program is available online at http://www.apicoaching.com/certiv.

Mel has coached and trained CEOs, heads of department, leaders and managers of top multi-national corporations across the region in Oil & Gas, Banking, IT, Insurance, Telco, Publication, Education, Retail, Pharmaceutical, Medical, Lift Service, Training & Development and NGOs.

Over the years, Mel has been trained and mentored by coaching greats such as Sir John Whitmore (Coaching), Dr. Richard Bandler (Neuro-linguistic programming), John C. Maxwell (Leadership), and worked with other experts in their field like Natalie Ashdown, Patrick Merlevede, W Mitchell and the late Marilyn Powell.

Mel is also passionate about working with the future generation and has co-founded Generation Global Coaching, a Gen-Y coaching organization that empowers the younger generation. Mel is an advocate for equality and the differently-abled community and sits on the executive board of Dialogue in The Dark Malaysia. (www.did.my)

Mel is one of the only persons in Asia to empower clients to better understand their People with Powerful 21st Century Psychometric Tools in three (3) key areas (from JobEQ, Belgium)-

– Values (VSQ Profile),

– Attitudes & Motivations (iWAM Profile),

– Competency (COMET Profile)

Since encountering Bashiru Adamu in Kerala India in 2013, Mel has been a teacher, mentor and coach to the Dream Again Prison and Youth Foundation initiator.In 2016, Mel visited Africa for the first time when he came to Nigeria to see for himself the work being done in prison.While in Nigeria, he voluntarily trained the wardens in Otukpo Prison in addition to encouraging and motivating the prisoners.