Background

    Having been established by Kelvin Mwikya, an ex-prisoner, and formally incorporated as a charity in 2002 Philemon has come a long way from its humble beginnings.

    After being wrongly convicted and serving four years in prison, Kelvin left prison with nowhere to turn or go to on release. After finding eventually finding work, Kelvin was inspired to use his humble wages to support fellow prisoners and bought toilet paper and soap for use by prisoners. Kelvin returned to the prisons to donate the items to save Bible’s being used as toilet paper, having recognised the power and freedom the Bible could have for both prisoners and wardens.

    Today the work of Philemon has grown and its impact is being felt throughout Kenya.

    • Vision

      Our vision is for prisoners to be restored to society as well-equipped and trustworthy people; physically, emotionally, and spiritually whole.

    • Mission

      Philemon is a holistic Christian charity which seeks to demonstrate the love of God to prisoners and former prisoners, by meeting their physical, emotion, relational and spiritual needs.

    • Values

      Philemon is inspired by Jesus in its service in prisons work. Philemon believes in the intrinsic value of every human person and that no life is beyond hope.  Philemon offers hope and resources to people of all faiths and none, from any background and with any history.   Philemon is committed to openness, transparency and accountability in its work. We believe that no aspect of our work and service should take advantage of the weak or vulnerable.

      Our ultimate aim is to display the just and compassionate character of God in everything we do. We believe that God has power to transform lives and restore relationships in every walk of life and society. We value sustainability and enterprise, both for Philemon as an organisation and for the former prisoners leading sustainable and enterprising working lives in their home communities.Values

    About the charity

    Established in 2002 the Philemon charity provides food, shelter, counselling, community, training and employment to prisoners and former prisoners in conjunction with the Office of the Kenyan Vice President and the Ministry of Home Affairs. Philemon UK was established in England and Wales as a charity in 2004 to support the work of Kelvin Mwikya and Philemon Kenya.

    our Work

    The Philemon vision is to change lives and rebuild society across Kenya and East Africa.

    To do so, Philemon works with Government and civil society groups, local churches and international partners. It helps prisoners of all faiths and none, providing services regardless of age, disability, gender or orientation.

    Philemon is currently at work in Kenya:

    Our work spans welfare within the prison system, the establishment of support groups, to programmes which promote government engagement at local and national level.

    Welfare

    working In prisons

    Philemon is committed to serving prisoners, regardless of faith, gender, age, ability or background.

    support Groups

    Philemon is supporting an increasing number of former prisoners and ex offenders in serving community services and setting up self-help groups, in partnership with the Kenyan Prison and Probation Services.

    Group members meet regularly for mutual encouragement, learning, sharing and spiritual growth, and are able to help one another as they begin new lives beyond the prison walls.  The groups also provide microfinance and support for members to start small businesses.  Since ex offenders are stigmatized and find it hard to obtain employment, many set up their own small enterprise to earn a living.

    working With goverment

    Philemon pioneered access to prisons in Kenya – it was the first charitable organisation to be allowed inside prison walls in Kenya during the Moi era.

    It has been an honour for Philemon to be at the forefront of changes in attitudes towards NGO activity in Kenyan prisons. Philemon now uses its connections and close relationship with government to facilitate and broker prison access for other charitable groups.

    None of this would be possible without the unparalleled relationship of trust which Philemon enjoys with the national prison authorities.

    Kelvin is often invited to speak at national seminars and to assist in policy reviews and reform initiatives.

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