The children of prisoners serving long sentences in different jails in districts in North Karnataka will have better opportunities with Society’s Care for the Indigent’s (Socare Ind) decision to establish a residential unit for them here.
Socare Ind’s second residential unit was formally inaugurated in a rented building here on Sunday by Regional Commissioner Rajneesh Goel. Originally an initiative taken by a few concerned individuals headed by retired Assistant General Manager of the Reserve Bank of India Venkataraghavachari Mani, Socare Ind’s aim was to help the children of the prisoners, who were unsuspecting victims of the crimes committed by their parents.
Later, the Sri Sharada Peetam at Sringeri took responsibility for implementing the project.
The project, which took off in a small way with two children who were given shelter by Mr. Mani and his wife Saroji in their home in 1998-99, now has 166 children housed in its Bangalore unit, providing quality education and a decent living experience in their residential ashram.
The first two students, Manjunath and Shashikumar, whose parents are still serving sentences in the Bangalore Central Jail at Parappana Agrahara, are bright students pursuing Pre University courses in Bangalore.
“I am satisfied…the initiative taken by my friends and I has started paying dividends….our efforts to provide a new and decent life to the children of prisoners serving long sentences is having an impact on their parents as well, and prison officials acknowledge that there has been a qualitative improvement in the behaviour of these prisoners,” Mr. Mani said.
Mr. Mani has converted his house in Bangalore into a hostel for girls and the boys are housed in a separate building at Laggere in Bangalore. “Socare Ind has not sought help from the State government so far and has been managing with contributions from well-meaning citizens,” he said. The annual expenditure to maintain these children at the Bangalore unit came to around Rs. 35 lakh.
Socare Ind president V.R. Ramesh told presspersons here on Sunday that a school following the CBSE syllabus would be established in Gulbarga to provide quality education to the children admitted to their Gulbarga centre, for free. Twelve children have been admitted to the Gulbarga centre, and at present they were enrolled in a local school. By 2013, Socare Ind would have its own school on its own land, he said.
“We propose to open this school for other children from economically backward sections on a day-scholar basis,” Mr. Ramesh said.
Every year the children under Socare Ind are taken to the prisons where their parents are serving their sentences for a family reunion. The children are allowed to stay in their respective villages for three months, with the aim of preserving family ties.
Source : The Hindu