I am Free project, implemented by Tüvana Foundation for Children Willing to Study (TOÇEV) with its partner from London Worldview Impact Foundation has been completed. The project was shaped upon a question to TOÇEV in a press conference, “You are a child foundation, are you concerned about children who stay with their mothers in prison? Do you know that they need support as well?”, and it started in the 3rd phase of Civil Society Dialogue carrying on to the fourth phase.
I am Free project, which is supported by the Ministry of Justice, Directorate General for Prisons and Detention Houses, has been developed with the aim to meet the basic needs of children of ages 0 to 6 who live in prisons with their mothers and to improve the mothers’ dialogues and behaviours with their children.
Throughout the project, Bursa Yenişehir Women’s Closed Prison, Burhaniye T Type Closed and Open Prison, Balıkesir L Type Closed Prison, Denizli D Type Closed Prison, Denizli Bozkurt Women’s Open Prison, Antalya L Type Closed Prison and Istanbul Bakırköy Women’s Closed Prison were visited each month regularly. Trainings were provided to mothers who live with their children in prison, and prison officers who pursue their working life in prisons.
TOÇEV Chairperson Ebru UYGUN stated in the final meeting that their aim throughout the project was to enable:
- Mothers and children to develop quality relationship within the restricted area they live in;
- Mothers to improve their motherhood skills;
- Mothers to effectively manage the time they spend with their children through games and songs.
The project was implemented with support from specialized psychologists, and training activities for children focused on preparation to school, psychological empowerment and values. As trainings continued, the trust bond between the mothers and children were strengthened, and the contents of the monthly trainings were updated in line with the needs. Thereby, 1020 mothers and 810 children were reached in 10 months. Again with the project, trainings were provided to prison officers on topics such as burnout, stress level, anger management, crisis management, communication and relations with children. 500 prison officers benefited from these trainings.
UYGUN expressed that they worked with mothers on effective communication with their children, game tools, sensory and motor development, privacy training and negative impacts of violence, highlighting that 20 thousand 180 km was made in-between 7 prisons throughout the project. After a six-month period, I am Free project plans to issue scientific publications benefiting from the impact assessment reports prepared by specialized training staff and volunteering academicians.