Jail University, a project of Shikshanta
In its second year of funding from IDS, the Jail University run by Shikshantar in Udaipur Central Jail in Rajasthan has continued to foster dignity and self-respect for over 100 inmates whom society had long written off as civil citizens.
In its second year of funding from IDS, the Jail University run by Shikshantar in Udaipur Central Jail in Rajasthan has continued to foster dignity and self-respect for over 100 inmates whom society had long written off as civil citizens. Rather than dwelling on their unforeseen circumstances that brought them to the jail, Shikshantar focused on the inherent goodness of each inmate with the firm belief that each individual has skills, passion, and drive to do good; it simply needs to be harnessed and channeled with the right opportunity.
Working with the jail superintendent, inmates were given the opportunity to explore their interests in music, art, cooking, computers, carpentry, hair styling, and organic farming, to name a few. The confined space of the jail was anything but a confinement of their dreams and the belief that they CAN contribute to the greater good of society. The music group that formed in the jail, for instance, became so popular that they were invited to perform at the world-renowned Jaipur Literature Festival. Moreover, 30 inmates were trained last year in organic farming and permaculture, and “farm to table” meals have become a routine at the jail. Below is a story of one of the inmates who received training in organic farming:
My name is Vasudev Kalaska from Dungapur district – I’m a farmer. I was put in jail three years ago. After coming here, I learned a lot about organic and natural farming. I helped develop a permaculture demo farm site in the jail. My dream is now to stop chemical farming and start organic farming. Once I’m released, I plan to motivate all the people in my village to do local organic farming again and stop the poisonous fertilizer and pesticides. I have grown organic cucumbers which we are using for delicious salads that have been grown using organic cow manure to improve the health of the soil.