By Frederick Philander WINDHOEK THE French ambassador to Namibia on Thursday donated 10 much needed computers worth more than N$70 000 to Criminals Return Into Society (CRIS) at the organisation’s headquarters in Khomasdal. According to the director of CRIS, Michaela Hubschle, the organization that was established five years ago presently has 3 000 ex-convicts as members countrywide. “The issue of training and skills development is very important in Namibia. Everybody agrees that training is a priority in preparing people for the local job market. At CRIS, the situation is different because the objective is different in so far as the organization allows former prisoners to acquire skills and qualifications, which will facilitate their return into the society, a very worthwhile endeavour,” said ambassador Phillippe de la Bathie at the handing over ceremony. The ambassador alluded to the fact that his embassy has in the past financially supported security and crime prevention efforts in the country. “We have provided the Windhoek Central Prison equipment for sewing classes and leatherworks as part of training to convicts serving their sentences. Presently, we are also supporting the Ministry of Safety and Security in efforts to set up a community service programme, hopefully to be widely used by former offenders as part of re-integration into the Namibian society,” the ambassador, who praised the management of CRIS for its contribution towards the creation of a more tolerant and peaceful society, said. CRIS is in the process of creating regional centres for its operations and educational activities. “Presently all our efforts are focused on the Khomas Region, but we are already accommodating ex-convicts from the regions and even ex-criminals from neighbouring countries as students. The Vocational Training Centre in Khomasdal is directly involved in this programme,” said director Michaela Hubschle in accepting the donation. Full time tutor, Jean Chiketa, welcomed the donation on behalf of the current 70 students in needlework and costume design under her control at the Khomasdal centre. “Up to now, we had to make do with only four computers, collectively used by all students at the same time. With this donation, we can go far in training ex-convicts in efforts to prevent them from slipping back into criminality,” Chiketa said.
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