The ‘I Am Project’ is an educational course that we run for women in prison. The course aims to build self-esteem through the creative process and to equip women to make healthy relationship choices.
The ‘I Am Project’ runs in prison under the NHS mental health team and within the Mother and Baby Unit. The course runs over 7–9 weeks and uses craft and games to facilitate discussion and learning. It is run with a maximum of 8 participants and 2 facilitators.
The group nature of the course allows development of social skills as well as personal growth. Many of the women who have completed the course speak of it with great affection.
Previous participants have said:
“It’s built my confidence a lot. I’ve realised that being able to make things is a good way to get my emotions out”.
“For me, writing helped me to say things that I have not said before. I don’t think that I listened to myself or to others until I wrote it down, then I was ‘seeing it’. I think I know more about me now”.
“I’m more assertive. I don’t care what others say. I say ‘no’ and stick to it and don’t feel bad about it. I used to make excuses to myself when giving in to other’s wishes. Now I think it’s not my problem. I’m respecting my needs”.
“The past doesn’t define us, it can shape us but it doesn’t decide who we are”.
The “I Am Project” is a wonderful bonding experience for the participants; and it is a privilege to be able to work with these women through such a course.