TELLING STORIES THAT NO ONE WANTS TO HEAR
The greatest battles are not fought against countries, but against a mindset. Prison reforms activist Vartika Nanda has been fighting this battle for more than a decade. Nanda has been working tirelessly to transform lives of prison inmates, who have been deemed unforgiveable by society. While they live in the confines of prison, Nanda teaches them various skills such as painting, writing and singing to make life less wearisome. She also organises motivational training for inmates to reinstill confidence in them so that they can land a job once they are released. This is no mean feat. Most of the inmates have difficulty getting a job because of the tag ‘prisoner’. But Nanda is not the one to give up easily. Battling regressive mindsets in our society, she ensures that these inmates get an opportunity, a second chance. “People look down upon prisoners. There’s a lot of stigma attached. They are disowned by the society,” says Nanda. No wonder, Nanda’s work draws severe criticism from various corners. Recently, her website was hacked by haters who had been trolling her for her work. But Nanda is not the one to give up. “There are many prisoners who want to start their lives from scratch. They repent their mistake and I firmly believe that do deserve a second chance. Life is about falling down and getting up again,” says Nanda.