14-year-old gives women pris­on­ers a fresh start

Sunday Express - - TAMIL NADU / SOUTH - CHETANA BELAGERE

OVER the past few months, 10 women in­mates of Tu­makuru Cen­tral Prison have im­mersed them­selves in the his­tory of Than­javur (Tan­jore) paint­ings and have learnt to paint in this style, giv­ing them a chance to take part in holis­tic re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion and to be­come fi­nan­cially in­de­pen­dent. The project, ti­tled ‘Project Fresh Start’, is the brain child of 14-year old Nikita Nam­biar. It has been ap­proved by the Depart­ment of Pris­ons and will be ex­tended to all state pris­ons.

Nikita, a stu­dent of The In­ter­na­tional School Ban­ga­lore (TISB), is proud of the ap­pre­cia- tion she re­ceived from the Ad­di­tional Di­rec­tor of Gen­eral of Po­lice (ADGP) Pris­ons S Megharikh. She was in­spired to start the project when she watched a pro­gramme on Na­tional Ge­o­graphic chan­nel about in­car­cer­ated women. The project strives to pro­vide holis­tic re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion that em­pow­ers women con­victs both so­cially and fi­nan­cially, and helps them be­come pro­duc­tive com­mu­nity mem­bers.

“Start­ing this project was not very easy for me. I had this idea, but it was a daunt­ing task to con- vince ev­ery­one around me to take it for­ward and I knew very well that I couldn’t do it alone,” says an ex­cited Nikita. From con­vinc­ing her par­ents to al­low her to work with women in­mates, an un­usual task for a 14-year old, she also had to get ac­cess to them. “From get­ting per­mis­sion to find­ing a good teacher who could teach Tan­jore paint­ings, to be able to un­der­stand the psy­che of the pris­on­ers and to un­der­stand that this is not in an or­di­nary sit­u­a­tion, was def­i­nitely chal­leng­ing,” she says.

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