Ex-gangsters use power of prayer to spread message of hope

Ex-prison Ministry, Beacon Valley street committee block A at the prayer walk held by Nehemiah Call Initiative.

The Nehemiah Call Initiative in Beacon Valley held a prayer walk through the area with reformed gang members and substance abusers.

Former gang members who joined the walk on Saturday April 25 wore orange overalls, similar to those worn in local prisons.

They did this as a reminder of the life they once had in prison and “if people caught in the cycle continue to follow it, they will remain in it,” said Jeremy Davis, from Hanover Park and founder of Ex-prison Ministry.

Ex-prison Ministry team spoke at the end point of the prayer walk at Rolbal and Hockey Crescent court.

The team from Ex-prison Ministry spoke at the end point of the prayer walk at Rolbal and Hockey Crescent court.

Over the past several years Mitchell’s Plain had experienced “unprecedented levels of threat and attack of the family”, said founder of the Nehemiah Call Initiative, Pastor Dean Ramjoomia.

Issues faced by residents included gender-based violence, gun violence, murder increasing every year factor in issues such as elder abuse, child neglect and abandoned and absent fathers.

“As a small growing organisation we know our resource limitations and for that reason we adequately partner. Thus the purpose of bringing male ex-offenders into our Beacon Valley community was to come and speak up and speak out against the falling away and threats against our families as their past lives reflect them being products of bad choices and family dysfunction,” said Mr Ramjoomia.

Ex-prison Ministry walking through the streets of Beacon Valley.

Warda Majiet, chairperson of the Beacon Valley street committee block A said the march was needed in the community. “It is a sad reality to know that these are the things affecting our people, especially our mothers. We hope to host many more of these marches in the community,” she said.

Dedicated community worker, Shariefa Herman said the community needed to hear from Ex-prison Ministry. “We try for so long to bring change but the community must see the reality we all face. This is uplifting for the community. We also have to come along with it and make a difference in our own families too,” said Ms Herman.

The Ex-prison Ministry focuses on the bad choices made and how these impact families and the future of adolescents who make these bad choices.

“Not all families are dysfunctional but from the many that are, we hope such families will reach out for help and assistance because there are many dedicated services to help families in crisis,” said Mr Ramjoomia.

Mr Davis, now 47, said he got involved in crime and drug abuse when he was just 16.

“It was peer pressure, I had no father figure. My mother got me through most of my life. It was tough. As I left that life, I was all alone. None of my friends were around to save me but God did. In 2001 I turned from my old ways,” he said.

It was his faith, he said, that kept him from going back to that life.

“People come to our programmes and they are changed. They make a decision to turn from the life of crime and we guide them the best way we can,” said Mr Davis.

Ex-prison Ministry is in need of donations of, or funds to buy white golf shirts and orange overalls for their programmes. For more information, call Mr Davis on 074 889 8274.