Indira grew up in extreme poverty and had to fight to be able to go to school. Even as a young girl she knew that she wanted to help other people who had hard lives.
Indira has built up an organisation called Prisoners Assistance Nepal (PA), which has rescued over a thousand children from cramped, dirty prisons. The children end up there because their parents have been sentenced to time in prison and nobody else is able to take care of them. When Indira rescues children, they are taken to one of PA's three children's homes. There they get an education and a safe childhood. They also learn agricultural skills and how to take care of animals. PA runs a children's home called Jankuri outside Kathmandu. Children from the surrounding villages are allowed to attend the school too.
Indira lobbies politicians and authorities to make prisons more humane. Many prisoners come from very poor families. Indira and PA teach them to read and write, so that they can manage better, and take better care of their children when they are released from prison.
Indira and Prisoners Assistance:
• Run three children‘s homes, two schools, and youth programs on organic agriculture, arts and crafts, and more.
• Support girls in villages to enable them to go to school. They are also given bikes, since they often have a long journey to get to school.
• Search for relatives and support them to take care of the children.
• Make sure that children get a chance to visit their parents in prison.
• Run programs allowing children to go to school during the day and stay with their mothers in prison at night. They also educate mothers in prison up to Year 5 level and give them vocational training.
• Support prisoners who have been released, so that they can be reunited with their children.
• Speak out for the weakest in society and fight for prisoners – especially women and their children – to be treated in a fair and humane way.
Photo: Johan Bjerke
The facts and figures on this page were accurate at the time of writing, in 2014