RC Shimla transforms a prison

You must visit our city prison now. We’ve made it ­colourful and aesthetically ­beautiful,” says Manu Aggarwal, President, RC Shimla, D 3080. The cells and ­barracks of the Kaithu Jail in Shimla have been  transformed with vibrant ­paintings organised by his team through artist Ghanshyam. It was an idea mooted by the prison’s Chief Welfare Officer Bhanu Prakash when the club approached him with its offer of a ­service project. The ­prisoners were also involved in the creative activity, with Ghanshyam teaching them to paint and mix colours.

The prisoners welcomed the splash of colours that have now replaced the monotony of stark white walls. “The idea was to trigger a positive ­mindset in the inmates. Each of the paintings ­conveys an optimistic message — birds flying indicate freedom, sun rise depicts a new beginning, and so on. We wanted to let them know that there is always a new beginning, an entire new life waiting outside for them,” said Aggarwal.

From right: Club President Manu Aggarwal, Jail Superintendent Isha Thakur, Chief Welfare Officer (Prison) Bhanu Prakash, Director General of Prisons Somesh Goyal, Artist Ghanshyam and Club Treasurer Kuldip Butail with a painting of Ganesha at the prison.

The Director General of Prisons Somesh Goyal appreciated the new look during his visit to the prison.

The club has also planned an ayurvedic camp for the inmates and will establish a Rotary-Singer ­Vocational Centre at the Kanda Jail near Shimla with about 300 inmates. “We will provide training in ­embroidery and tailoring to skill the prisoners and provide them livelihood opportunity.” There is a huge market for woolen garments made in the city. The Rotarians are also engaged in tree plantation activities in the prison ­campuses, he added.

Regular medical camps for school children, providing support for ­orphanages and a school for the ­differently-abled, organising ­Nukkad Natak, highlighting social issues such as female foeticide, illiteracy and enabling women’s ­empowerment, are some of the regular projects of this 46-year-old club.

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