Iwawa Island, Rwanda

One of my (admittedly narrow) interests in human service history has been in the location of various types of human service programs, including but not limited to prisons, on islands. This NY Times article describes how the government in Rwanda has been sending beggars, homeless people and petty criminals to an island in Lake Kiwu for ‘rehabilitation.’ From the article:

Nearly 900 beggars, homeless people and suspected petty thieves, including dozens of children, have recently been rounded up from the nation’s neatly swept streets and sent — without trial or a court appearance — to this little-known outpost.

Such a practice illustrates segregation and congregation, isolated dislocation, deindividualization and mass management, etc. Again, from the article:

As a boatload of officials recently glided onto shore, one police commissioner gestured to the birds, the trees and the young men with uniformly shaved heads fetching water and said, “Welcome to our Hawaii.” But on the mainland, people describe it as an Alcatraz. “We call it the island of no return,” said Esperance Uwizeyimana, a homeless mother of four.

Certainly a bit of detoxification from the police commissioner … and also from the same article:

“This isn’t a good place for children,” one employee said in hushed tones because the minister was nearby. “They could get abused.”

If you have examples of services located on islands, either current services or historical examples, please post a comment about it. I will write in future posts about other examples of island services that I have heard of and/or studied.

Posted on June 4, 2010 at 9:23 am by MTumeinski · Permalink
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