Annu Devi (33), serving life at Shaheed Jubba Sahani Central Jail, feels liberated after 15 days of training on how to make different handicraft items.
Earlier, she used to worry for her six-year-old daughter Neha. But she now feels she can do something for Neha, who lives with her ever since a local court convicted her in 2010 for murdering her husband in 2007.
“Now I can prepare handicraft items like a teddy bear, different decorative items using cloths and other waste material. For the first time, I have a bank account in my name. I will labour hard to save enough for Neha,” she said. “My in-laws at Naugachhia and parents at Khagaria have snapped all ties with us. For want of money, I could not defend myself well or appeal in a higher court. But I can at least do something for Neha,” she said.
Like her, 78 other female inmates — 32 of them life convicts — see life in a new light after the training programme that concluded in jail on September 13. “Our kin have abandoned us. But the training would benefit us a lot,” said Kumuria Devi, a life convict.
Fateh Help Society, a Bhagalpur-based NGO, conducted the programme. “Once a prisoner’s sentence is remitted, or whenever a prisoner leaves jail, the post-jail rehabilitation is more difficult for women. Society does not accept them. So if we arm them with a skill, they would not have to bother about livelihood after jail,” said Shabana Dawood, secretary, Fateh Help Society.
Handicraft items the inmates make would also be sent to an international trade fair at Vigyan Bhavan, New Delhi, from September 22, to showcase craft created by prisoners from around the world.