Hope and Song to Freedom – the name is a translation of the Spanish ‘Esperanza y Canto a la Libertad’ and was initially the name given to the ladies’ fellowship group in Santa Monica maximum security prison in Chorillos, near Lima. Miriam Breña Torres was one of the founders of this group whilst she was in prison in the late 1990s. Upon her release, Miriam had contact with CSW (Christian Solidarity Worldwide) and asked if a ‘friend’ could be found for her. Elizabeth Lake, based in the UK, responded to this call and a friendship was born. Miriam has continued to visit the ladies group in prison believing that what she suffered was for a purpose. These visits offer encouragement to the women, as many of them have been there for many years, on false charges of terrorism, dating back to the dark days of Fujimori’s regime. They often suffered human rights abuses and many of them are still serving lengthy sentences for crimes they didn’t commit.
The prison group continues to meet together to share fellowship and to share their faith with other inmates. However, the name ‘Hope and Song to Freedom’ is now a wider ministry project encompassing both the work in the prison and a wider work outside the prison, helping those released and their families with their re-integration into society and with any practical help needed.