Prayas is a social work demonstration project of the Criminology and Criminal Justice, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, established in 1990. Prayas’s focus is on service delivery, networking, training, research and documentation, and policy change with respect to the custodial/institutional rights and rehabilitation of socio-economically vulnerable individuals and groups.
As Prayas engages in relief work in the midst of the COVID 19 pandemic and the lockdown, the current need is that of providing rations and cash to people who are in touch with the agency. While rations and cash at hand are significant at this point in time, it holds different meanings under different circumstances. Bina (name changed) a Prayas client (beneficiary), is 23 years, and was rescued from commercial sex. After her rescue, she was referred to a State Home for Women and later discharged to return to her family. During the lockdown, she was anxious about basic supplies for her family. While Prayas provided her with rations, for Bina, the rations per se meant more.This was the first time that her family saw that she was able to mobilise resources for them. Bina’s journey will be a long one, she will have to find a way to earn after the lockdown (she had lost her job before the lockdown), and maybe even have to develop new employable skills. The lockdown has been hard on her. Today, however, after a long time, she feels a little light – she feels she has helped her family. She said, ‘didi, aaj mummy humse khush hain, achcha laga mujhe … Thanks’.
In another case, Kalpana (name changed), a Prayas client,is 44 years old, released from prison. She lives with 6 family members in a far off suburb of Mumbai. It was a challenge to transfer money (financial assistance) to her bank account, as her bank branch was in a western suburb which she could not access. Prayas, Social Worker Komal Phadtare could not transfer cash to her but provided ration assistance to her. However, the quantity could not last for longer days, due to her large family size.
When Komal enquired with Kalpana if she avails any rations from the ration shop, Kalpana informed her that she does not get anything from the ration shop for the past 10 years, as they claim her annual income is high and so she is not eligible to get rations.
Komal came across contact details (on WhatsApp) about Deepak Tambe, a member of Bharitiya Rajya Nigam, Maharashtra, who advertised to contact him for any ration assistance. Komal thought of exploring the number and contacted Deepak, introduced her and background of Prayas work, and approached him for seeking ration assistance for Kalpana.
Deepak requested to provide Kalpana’s Aadhar card, ration card, and application form to be filled in the prescribed format. Komal sent the format to Kalpana, who filled the form as requested and sent it back through WhatsApp. Komal forwarded the details to Deepak and asked Kalpana to visit the ration shop.
Due to the timely intervention of Prayas Social Worker Komal, Kalpana started getting rations and received 18 kgs of wheat and 12 kgs of rice after a span of 10 years. Henceforth, she will get rations every month. This is a major relief to her especially at the time of COVID -19.
Prayas has been working for the last 30 years to create pathways for the rehabilitation of persons in prison and protective custody. Do support Prayas to reach out to maximum people with the support in the times of COVID 19 crises https://tiss.edu/prayas_donate/