Indira Ranamagar is a truly remarkable woman whose 20+ year struggle for children of prisoners in Nepal continues.
Indira founded Prisoner’s Assistance Nepal in 2000 to provide help to prisoners and their families
Indira Ranamagar is social worker and founder of non-profit organisation Prisoner’s Assistance Nepal that looks after the children of criminal parents living in jails. Indira took a deep interest in the welfare of prisoners and their families from an early age, and after becoming well acquainted with their struggles through various social projects, she founded Prisoner’s Assistance Nepal in 2000. Her continued work through the organisation has led to the opening of four children’s homes, two schools, and various other social projects aimed at helping prisoners and their children.
Nepal’s prisons are poorly run nightmares, characterised by neglect and indifference
This treatment causes undue suffering above and beyond what may be intended by imprisonment. As a result, after serving their sentences, prisoners emerge not rehabilitated and ill-equipped to re-enter society; as such, they most often revert back to a life of crime. Indira Ranamagar is working to change the penal system so that it treats the prisoner as a person and considers their future lives, including preparation for employment and caring for their families.
Prisoner’s Assistance Nepal
PA Nepal is a grassroots organisation that aims to provide care to prisoners and their dependent children. It was founded in 2000 by Indira Ranamagar, who first began working with prisoners in 1990 alongside human rights activist Parijat.
PA Nepal functions within a holistic frame work, endeavouring to work with prisoners and their children at every stage of their journey to reintegration. They provide care and services to those in prison and, where possible, remove children from the prison environment and place them in safe and caring environments where they can receive complete care. The organisation also continues to advocate for crime prevention initiatives and works toward creating environments that are crime free through promoting employment, education, structural change to the justice system and an understanding of criminal activity and its causes within Nepal.
PA Nepal’s ethos focuses on keeping families in contact while ensuring that innocent children are not forced to endure the traumas of prison. To this effect, their objectives are:
- To provide a safe, secure and positive environment for the children of prisoners.
- To ensure the reintegration of children into their families and local regions when appropriate.
- To promote and support income generation for vulnerable individuals affected by imprisonment.
- To advocate for prisoners’ basic rights and human rights and ensure their welfare.
- To improve the life skills and opportunities of the most vulnerable ex-prisoners and their dependents.
- To reduce crime by engaging individuals in meaningful activities.
Indira’s story in her own words…
“I was born into a poor family in a poor village in eastern Nepal. I did not get the opportunity to go to school and if things had developed in the usual way I would have remained uneducated and would still be living in my small village. But I was determined to learn and to get an education. My brothers taught me to read and write using sticks to write in the dirt outside my home.
I combined learning with household and farm chores and in the end I succeeded. I made it to my village school and topped my class and later managed to continue my education in a nearby town. This was a tough thing to do because I had to break from my village community and stand alone and this was something that was not encouraged at the time. But my determination saw me through and all the time I was combining studies with domestic work to earn enough money to keep going.
I became a school teacher and later started literacy classes for women in the village. But I was still restless and wanted to improve myself and go beyond the limitations of local life. It was a time of political upheaval when I decided to travel to Kathmandu and begin a new life committed to social work. It was in Kathmandu that I met and began to work with Parijat, the renowned writer and human rights activist. I started to work in jails with Parijat and it was then that I saw the work that needed to be done. Parijat’s main concern was for political prisoners but I became more concerned with the most vulnerable in jail. And so my work has continued and the determination of the small child learning her alphabet in the dust still burns bright in my heart. It is a light that has seen me through many difficulties and trials and it will continue to do so in the future. It has meant that I have been able to work with the most vulnerable and desperate and I have been able to give them hope and assistance.”
To make a donation direct to Prisoner's Assistance Nepal — CLICK HERE
"Thank you so much for your contribution! We appreciate your involvement so much!<br /> Please know that your support enables us to continue working with this vulnerable population, providing care and empowerment to better people's lives today and give them hope for the future! We couldn't do it without you so Thank You!" — Indira Ranamagar