A group of women inmates in Dasna jail have been working long hours for the past two months. They are trying to meet a target of preparing and selling candles worth Rs. 1 lakh this Diwali.
The group has been preparing candles in different shapes and sizes, apart from perfumed varieties.
“These women have been working hard to make candles. Their products have been sold at Diwali mela stalls in Vasundhara and have also been purchased by two reputed schools in Ghaziabad,” said Babita Kiroriwal from a Ghaziabad-based NGO, who has trained the inmates in candle-making.
“I have purchased candle boxes from the jail counter and gifted them to my family members who visited me. It is a tradition to give gifts to family members on Diwali. But since I am in jail, I could not think of a better gift for my family,” a woman inmate said.
Women inmates themselves have purchased candles worth Rs. 12,000 so far.
“The group is working hard and 80% of the sale proceeds will get credited to their accounts. This will give them financial independence and they can also start small businesses when they get out,” said SP Yadav, Dasna jail superintendent.
While women inmates are busy preparing candles, some male inmates have taken up the work of painting the jail before Diwali. The group is busy cleaning the premises and painting the pathways, trees and flower pots.
While this group prepares the jail for Diwali, another group is stitching shirts and other clothes at the tailoring shop in the jail.
“We have an order from a Delhi school for making uniforms. Some of the inmates have tailoring experience while others had to learn. Each of these men earns nearly Rs. 4,000-5,000 per order. They either give this money to their families or save it in their accounts,” said Hasmukh Lal, who is in the jail after his conviction in a case of abduction. He teaches tailoring to fellow inmates.
Talking about the Diwali celebrations at the jail, Singh said, “Since no fireworks are allowed inside the jail, Diwali celebrations will be completely eco-friendly. The women group has decided to prepare candles for Christmas and New Year celebrations as well. We have also prepared a special menu for Diwali comprising aloo, puri and halwa,” Yadav said. The jail administration has ordered 5,500 earthen diyas and more than 300 lights for the celebrations.