NGO focuses on problems of kids of jail inmates

New Delhi : Several eminent citizens came together to focus attention on an often ignored area – the problems faced by children of jail inmates.

At a seminar titled “Unseen, Unheard — Innocent Prisoners of Conscience”, they discussed the plight of children of prisoners and sought ways to improve their lot through the collaborative efforts of individuals, governments and civil society.

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Organised by the Siddhartha Vashishta Charitable Trust (SVCT), the seminar highlighted its “Prisoners’ Child Education Programme” which provides tuition fees, books, stationery, uniforms, etc., to these children, as also counselling, mentoring and motivational sessions where required.

Those who attended the seminar were poet-politician Kumar Vishwas, filmmaker Madhur Bhandarkar, former Director-General of Prisons and Delhi Police Commissioner B.K. Gupta, and former Chief Justice of Madhya Pradesh High Court Justice K.K. Lahoti, among others.

The seminar touched upon issues such as the psychological and socio-economic condition of these children; the role education can play in improving their lives; and the steps required to support them.

Participants also urged the private sector to come forward and provide employment to released prisoners and said civil society needs to help in re-absorbing them into mainstream society.

Said SVCT President Shakti Rani Sharma: “While working with children of Tihar jail inmates, we observed that because either one or both the parents are incarcerated in jail, the lives of these children is turned completely upside down. These children are deprived of basic necessities of life and also education which is a fundamental right of every child.

“Because they suffer societal indifference and ridicule coupled with extreme poverty, these children are financially and mentally very vulnerable and require our help.”

Vishwas noted that Mahatma Gandhi once said that children cannot be illegitimate, relationships can be. “Why should children be isolated for crimes committed by their parents,” he asked.