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INDIA: Inmates gain job skills

Don Bosco Youth and Educational Services offers initiatives for inmate rehabilitation

(MissionNewswire) Salesian Father Dr. Peter Salew, director of Don Bosco Youth and Educational Services, in Dimapur, India, is dedicated to providing rehabilitation services for inmates at Dimapur Sub-Jail and Central Jail, according to a recent Morung Express article.

To help meet this mission, Fr. Salew has launched many initiatives at the jails, including skills training for computer application, organic farming, and poultry rearing. The goal is to provide inmates with skills so they can get a job once they are released and have an easier time reintegrating back into society. Fr. Salew has also donated a 3,000-liter capacity water purifier as well as ceiling fans for inmates at the Central Jail.

In an interview with Morung Express, Fr. Salew, who has been engaging in prison ministry work since 2019, said, “I am passionate about the prison ministry that I carry out in Dimapur. The training provides a meaningful way to empower them to learn a new trade. The purpose was that once they come out from prison, they should be able to earn their livelihood in a dignified manner.”

During the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, Fr. Salew had to stop his work in the jails due to health and safety issues. By the beginning of 2021, Fr. Salew was permitted to continue his work, and he used the opportunity to expand his efforts in the Central Jail. He convinced the administration to convert an empty plot of land into an organic farm for the inmates to cultivate. “They were enthusiastic about the whole thing,” he said.

In the Morung Express article, Fr. Salew added, “The whole process was such an enriching experience and when they know that we are sincerely working for their welfare, they tend to become more approachable. I’m not there to judge them for their actions, the law will take its course, but I’m here to help them in whatever way I can.”

The organic farm cultivates cucumbers, spring onions, pumpkins, Naga king chili, and more. The inmates are proud of the work that they are doing. One inmate, who had been imprisoned for more than 14 years, joined the poultry rearing program. Fr. Salew explained, “As he was doing poultry business before his incarceration, he was so enthusiastic about the whole process.”

While there is no market yet for the inmates to sell their products, Fr. Salew is looking into it. He has been contacting local educational institutions to buy these products regularly. Fr. Salew said, “Some encouraging responses have come forth with some heads of institutions. Besides, some good and practical suggestions have been offered in this regard by some well-wishers and friends.”

He added, “We all belong to the same human family. Prejudices and judgmental attitudes never make a person become better. Respect and understanding go a long way in transforming a person. In every person, there is always some good about themselves. Everyone makes mistakes, but we should give a chance to that person to repent and be reformed.”

Salesian programs across India are primarily focused on education. Salesian primary and secondary education in the country helps youth prepare for later technical, vocational or university study. Other programs help to support poor youth and their families by meeting the basic needs of shelter, proper nutrition and medical care.



Morung Express – Enabling reintegration for inmates back into society

Salesian Missions – India

World Bank – India

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