Soiled clothes and a stench of sweat were a typical backdrop when Hi-Class Dry Cleaners and Laundry presented soap, sugar and salt to inmates at Mzuzu Prison on Thursday.
The laundry, situated at Mzuzu Shoprite, offered 587 convicts and remandees a smooth send-off into 2016.
The New Year gifts worth K100 000 also challenged small and medium enterprises to invest in lessening the plight of needy communities rather than leaving social responsibility to big businesses alone, Hi-Class managing director John Swila said.
He said: “We give because to give is our heartfelt responsibility, not because we are a big business. We want to show the inmates that they are not condemned. We hope this will support their restitution into society.”
Inmates were grateful.
“The gift may seem small, but it will go a long way to improving our livelihoods. I have been here for almost two months, but many forget us as if we are dead and buried,” Titus Chitsulo, who is on remand, said.
Concurring, a female occupant said blessed are those who render a hand to lessen numerous problems in the country’s congested prisons.
Mzuzu Prison was opened in 1959 with the capacity of 160 inmates, but housed 587 on New Year’s Eve.
Prison officer- in-charge Herrings Nyalubwe has asked well-wishers to help fence a 250-seater cell constructed by Centre for Legal Assistance outside the colonial complex. n