Djamila is the child of a prisoner detained in a foreign country. She currently works as a social worker specialising in youth psychiatry in the Netherlands and has the role of ambassador for the non-profit organisation Exodus Nederland. Exodus supports prisoners and their families throughout the detention period as well as during the resettlement process. Djamila has started an online blog to share her experiences of parental incarceration with other children in the same boat. She also writes a daily column in the Dutch free transport newspaper, Metro. Through these activities, and her volunteering at Exodus, she helps spread the word about the impact of the imprisonment of a parent on his/her children. She wants to raise awareness about the issue and above all show other children of prisoners that they are not alone. At the time of writing she is visiting her father in prison in Asia, for the first time in three years.
My name is Djamila. I am 24 years old and I live in the Netherlands. My father has been in prison for almost ten years. He is not in prison in the Netherlands but in Asia.
When I was younger I thought that my sister and I were the only children with a father in prison. Little did I know that the Dutch organisation Exodus existed and that there were 25,000 other children with imprisoned parents in the Netherlands. Exodus is an organisation that works on behalf of prisoners and their families. No matter if you’re still in prison or not. Take a look at their website to see what they can do for you. Or indeed to see how you can help! They have a special programme for children with a mother or father who is in jail. This is where I help a little bit by doing some volunteer work. I’m one of 1,850 volunteers. Imagine that, there are that many volunteers! How many families need the help of an organisation like this? I am in email contact with children who are in the same position as me. I hope that I provide a little support for the families. For more information in English, have a look at this page: http://childrenofprisoners.eu/exodus/
Together with Exodus we decided to write a blog about my time in Asia. I am currently there to visit my father after three years of not seeing him. I have so many questions for my father; knowing that there is a possibility that this will be my last visit. There is a chance that my father will receive the death penalty.
I write about my visits, my feelings and I post some video blogs. I hope to reach children in the same position. I want them to know that they are not the only ones. I know that some of them have a hard time and miss their dad or mum. This is why I decided to volunteer with Exodus. I want to be there for other children.