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News Student fundraiser gives female prisoners ‘fresh start’

A Staffordshire University student has launched a campaign to help provide essential toiletries for women when they leave prison

Farida has been volunteering to help prisoners throughout the pandemic
Image: Farida has been volunteering to help prisoners throughout the pandemic

I feel that it is really important that we provide the women who are released into a society facing a life-threatening virus with some basic hygiene items. I feel that if these ladies don’t have enough money to maintain their hygiene, it is not only a case of poor hygiene but a life that could be taken by COVID-19.

Farida Zergaline, BA (Hons) Criminal Justice with Offender Management

BA (Hons) Criminal Justice with Offender Management student Farida Zergaline, 35 from Blurton, is raising money to make up hygiene travel bags filled with necessities including toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap and deodorant.

Alongside her studies, Farida volunteers with charity Change Grow Live (CGL) which offers a range of support to reintegrate prisoners back into the community, from greeting them at the gate on their release date, taking them to probation and housing appointments or simply just taking them home.

Farida and fellow students have continued to volunteer during the COVID-19 pandemic while taking appropriate safety precautions, such as adopting social distancing and wearing PPE.

She explained: “I have been providing this ongoing support throughout this current pandemic at HMP Foston Hall and have noticed that a majority of the women are released with no money, a black bag with a minimal amount of clothing finding themselves with only one night of accommodation.

“I feel that it is really important that we provide the women who are released into a society facing a life-threatening virus with some basic hygiene items. I feel that if these ladies don’t have enough money to maintain their hygiene, it is not only a case of poor hygiene but a life that could be taken by COVID-19.”

The volunteers give prisoners a mask, a bus pass with unlimited travel, and an email address when they are released. Farida has set up a JustGiving page and aims to raise £1000 to also provide hygiene travel bags to tide the female prisoners over until they have arranged their benefits.

Farida added: “All the students who are part of CGL will continue to volunteer under these challenging circumstances as we feel that we provide a crucial but not well publicised service to the community.”

If you would like to make a donation please visit https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/faridaleila-zerglaine

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