Of­fend­ers climb­ing ‘moun­tains’

South Waikato News - - OPINION/NEWS -

Mov­ing Moun­tains is an apt name for an or­gan­i­sa­tion which has helped young of­fend­ers in Toko­roa.

A 17-year-old serv­ing a sen­tence of home de­ten­tion, who has been fa­mil­iar with the jus­tice sys­tem since the age of 12 has since com­pleted NCEA lev­els 1 and 2 af­ter be­ing re­ferred to the pro­gramme – a sig­nif­i­cant achieve­ment con­sid­er­ing he only started with nine cred­its.

In the young man’s own words, he claimed he had ‘‘never stuck with any­thing’’ but that this was ‘‘easy, fun and in­ter­est­ing be­cause it was so hands on.’’

Toko­roa Com­mu­nity Cor­rec­tions work closely with var­i­ous agen­cies to help pro- vide ser­vices to re­duce re­of­fend­ing.

Nouha Ach­mar from Mov­ing Moun­tains worked closely with him to help him get through.

‘‘He has worked hard and shown com­mit­ment. He has pro­gressed well and taken the op­por­tu­ni­ties pro­vided for him.’’

Mov­ing Moun­tains NZ is about ‘‘mak­ing all things pos­si­ble’.

Ach­mar said tu­tors worked with the of­fender, teach­ing him skills such as build­ing and plas­ter­ing. The team was in­volved in a project where mi­nor build­ing al­ter­ations were made in which the of­fender par­tic­i­pated from begin­ning to end, learn­ing new skills while think­ing about his fu­ture.

‘‘Sec­ond chances don’t come easy; but now this guy’s life choices are brighter.’’

Life has taken a pos­i­tive turn for the young of­fender thanks to the Mov­ing Moun­tains team work­ing closely along­side the De­part­ment of Cor­rec­tions.

He was the sixth person to en­ter the Youth Jus­tice Fa­cil­ity in Ro­torua and af­ter spend­ing two and a-half years there, he never thought his life would change un­til Moses and Nouha showed him what he could achieve. He never missed a day of the course.

Cor­rec­tions is com­mit­ted to re­duc­ing re­of­fend­ing by 25 per cent by 2017.

Re­search shows there is a strong link be­tween em­ploy­ment and re­duced re­of­fend­ing, com­mu­nity cor­rec­tions district man­ager Raema Mackay said.

‘‘ Hav­ing a job gives an of­fender struc­ture in his/her life, cou­pled with the pride that comes with a job well done and earn­ing an in­come. Many peo­ple who we work with have not had em­ploy­ment be­fore. The men­tor­ship that can be pro­vided by an em­ployer can make an enor­mous dif­fer­ence in an of­fender’s life.’’

If you are able to sup­ply work for some­one like the of­fender in this story, please con­tact Nouha on 021 028 43869.

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