AWIU GRANT REPORT FROM SHURU CALCUTTA, A SISTER ORGANIZATION OF HOPE IN LIFE FOUNDATION AND FLIGHT TO HARMONY FOUNDATION
Purpose of project: Empowerment of women and children inside correctional homes via art therapy because everyone deserves a second chance! Typically all day Art Workshops not only enable inmates to release their pent up anger and frustration through the medium of art, they also have the opportunity to enhance their communication and presentation skills. For children born inside prison, who can legally live with their mothers up till the age of 7 in India, an art workshop is a day to have fun with colors, drawing books, and friends, to showcase their recitation of poetry and their school grade knowledge.
Background: The project in India was collaboratively delivered by SHURU KOLKATA, the sister organization of Hope in Life Foundation and Flight to Harmony Foundation. The project was facilitated by West Bengal Department of Correctional Services under the leadership of Director General & Inspector General, Mr. Arun Kumar Gupta. Flight to Harmony Foundation founder, Mr. Chitta Dey started working with prisoners some 8 years ago and hasn’t looked back since. The project was funded by a grant from American Women for International Understanding (www.awiu.org). The trio (Mr. A. K. Gupta, Mr. Chitta Dey and Mrs.Rupsi Burman) successfully delivered their 1st project last year in December.
Current project: Women in Correctional Homes in Kolkata get a lot of support to develop skills they can use upon release from prison. For e.g. the food that was supplied during the project was prepared by prisoners who were professionally trained to cook and present like they would if they worked at a restaurant. Another e.g. sample baked items shared during the workshop were prepared by prisoners inside the prison bakery. Prisoners get encouraged to lead a good life when they receive appreciation from strangers about the quality of the work they produce. They carry these moments in their hearts as they serve their sentence. These lighter and beautiful moments help them model good behavior. These moments give them hope of a life outside prison.