Wellins Academy at Borstal Remand Center in Ogun State, Nigeria is helping youth develop the skills they need to transition to a new phase in life.
Rehabilitating Youth Through Practical Skills Training
Borstal Remand Center is a juvenile detention home within the Nigerian Prisons Service. Borstal aims to rehabilitate young men between the ages of 16 and 21 while helping them develop life skills.
In 2009, with the help of a local NGO, J.S. Wellins LTD; Fehintola Consulting; and a United Nations Volunteer, Chioma Enemchukwu, Borstal was able to set up and equip a basic computer center for detainees. This center enabled Borstal to deliver Cisco Networking Academy courses to inmates in collaboration with Wellins Academy.
Mrs. Lawal I. G., head of Borstal, describes the Networking Academy program as "very educative and exciting," and says "the boys enjoyed all the lessons and were looking forward to each day, which assisted the workers a lot in preparing them for the future."
First Graduation Ceremony
Three months after the program launch, a group of 15 boys became the first graduates of the Cisco IT Essentials course at the Borstal-Wellins academy, thanks to the selfless social service of the Networking Academy instructors, Mrs. Jumoke Adegunwa and Mr. Tobi Adebisifor.
Borstal obtained a court order for one student to stay beyond his prison term to complete his IT Essentials training, at the student's request, and several students received letters of recommendation from Cisco CEO John Chambers for their outstanding performance.
Lessons Learned and Future Plans
Despite the program success, Borstal has several challenges to overcome in hopes of sustaining the program and extending the benefits to more students, including unreliable network access, an insufficient number of computers, no air conditioning, a shortage of networking equipment and comfortable seats, and unreliable power delivery. They hope to develop partnerships with NGOs and businesses to overcome these challenges and allow additional students to benefit from the Cisco training.