14-year-old gives women prisoners a fresh start
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.