West Bengal Correctional Department has decided to open schools within jail premises for the education of convicts’ children.
The project, which will start from Alipore Correctional Home from May 12, will see the conversion of a store room and an office into classrooms and crèche.
“This is for the first time we are taking such an initiative and the Alipore Correctional Home has been chosen to be the first such facility where a crèche, a school and a library will be set up,” said ADG, Alipore prison, Adhir Sharma.
There is a rule in prisons that allow the children between the age of one and six of female convicts to stay with them in prison, Sharma said. After six years of age, these children either go back to their father or are sent to school-cum-homes run by the government or NGOs.
According to an official of Alipore jail, there are 25 six-year-old children in the prison at present.
“Initially we will start the project with these 25 children. Later on, it will be spread to various other jails including the Dum Dum Central Jail, where at present 125 kids are staying with their mothers who are either convicts or are under trial,” Sharma said.
The staff of an NGO will teach the kids while the some of the women convicts will supervise the crèche.
As India is now passing through tremendous stress due to COVID 19 crisis and the consequent prolonged lockdown , the most affected are those living below poverty line, who constitute around 20% of national population ( around 250 million people).
Who are deeply deprived persons ?:
Amongst these affected people, the deeply deprived persons constituting around 50 million of national population consist of the physically disabled persons , visually impaired, hearing / speech impaired and mentally retarded persons, aged people in poor health , destitute women and section of self employed people with no skill such as rag pickers.
Even in normal times, these deeply deprived people live in desperate conditions without knowing as to where their next meal would come from. These people have been surviving due to the freebies such as free rice etc. extended by the government as well as welfare pension such as old age pension etc. Without such freebies and pension support from the government , most of these people would have lost their lives due to poverty and sickness.
Help extended during COVID 19 crisis :
During the COVID 19 crisis, central and state governments as well as non government organisations , voluntary bodies and kind hearted individuals have been doing their level best to support these deeply deprived 50 million people all over India, by extending support in various forms.
Obviously, the government and non government bodies would not be able to extend support that were extended during the COVID 19 crisis, after the COVID 19 period, as they would run out of funds.
Need for support in post COVID 19 period :
The governments can continue to extend support such as free rice , pension etc. as given in the normal times after COVID 19 period , which would not be adequate to sustain the deeply deprived persons , in view of their extensive sufferings during the COVID 19 crisis.
For example, large number of visually impaired persons and differently abled persons survive during the normal times by selling assorted items in running trains or platforms etc. Other deeply deprived persons normally would involve themselves in some activities or other to get some marginal income to sustain themselves , even as they get support from government by way of free rice and welfare pension. All these deeply deprived people have lost such marginal income during the lockdown period.
Please follow NewsGram on Facebook to get updates on the latest news
In recent years, it is seen there is enormous interest amongst most of these deeply deprived people to atleast educate their children , so that they can take up jobs to uplift their families. They have to be supported, as adequately educating the children of poor families is the best way of uplifting the poor and downtrodden families.
In the post COVID 19 scenario, due to the income lost during the lockdown period, these deeply deprived people are now facing desperate conditions and they will not be able to come out of this distressed conditions without support from society.
What strategy to help in post COVID 19 period :
A strategy has to be worked out by the people in the affordable income group, to help these 50 million people to survive .
In such conditions, one remembers the “Pidi Arisi Thittam” (plan for giving handful of rice) suggested by His Holiness Kanchi Paramacharya. (pontiff of Sankara Mutt in Kanchipuram, Tamil Nadu who passed away around two decades back)
Knchi Paramacharya, suggested to people to set apart handful of rice every day, so that it can be used for preparing offerings to the deity (Naivedya) and later distributed to the poor and downtrodden people. This advice of Kanchi Paramacharya has to be extended a little more in the post COVID 19 scenario.
Let every family maintain a small hundi in the residence and whenever the family members take lunch or dinner every day , let every family remember the plight of 50 million deeply deprived people and deposit a small amount , whatever they can afford , in the hundi.
Let each family identify one poor family who are part of the 50 million deeply deprived people and handover the sum deposited in the hundi to them every month.
If every family in the affordable income group would adopt such helpful attitude and practice, it will help in a very big way the deeply deprived people to find a way out for themselves and enable their children to undergo education to occupy the rightful place in the society as they grow up.
This is an ideal method of helping the deeply deprived people and to derive huge satisfaction for every one of the donor.
If individual family in the affordable income group, would not have the time or contact to identify such deeply deprived people, then, the deposited amount in the hundi every month, can be handed over to any NGO for providing to the needy people and get a receipt to be submitted to the donor.
The ideal arrangement for the donor would be to contact the deprived family, personally talk to them in an encouraging way and provide the sum to them every month , whatever the amount may be, so that the deeply deprived families would not get a feeling of isolation and gain confidence that they are part of the society.
With the nationwide lockdown adding to the problems faced by the poor, many private institutions and NGOs are extending a helping hand to the needy in Bihar.
Anukriti Art founder Anukriti said she along with other benefactors has so far helped 50 families in the Shahkund area of Bhagalpur by providing them ration and other essentials.
An awardee for Madhubani and Manjusha paintings, Anukriti pointed out that such little help from individuals across the country could make a huge difference.
An NGO, Ang Madad Foundation, which has earlier helped many women get trained in tailoring, has provided ration and other help to the needy in the Champanagar area in Nathnagar block.
Its head Vandana Jha said that whenever they come to know about the needy or someone calls them for help, they reach out to such persons. She said her organization has so far helped around 200 people.
Ram Jansewa Samiti and area villagers came to the rescue of 50 to 60 persons belonging to a nomadic community left stranded in the Hasanganj block of Katihar district. These needy persons, which included women and children, were provided ration and other essential items.