In Their Own Words: Samuel Students Engage in Social Work at Tihar Jail

Hedwig and Robert Samuel Foundation

Violating the law – this is nothing you should take lightly in any country, but it holds true in particular for India where poorly equipped jails with unsanitary conditions may await you for committing an offence. During their most recent social work activity, our students Ratesh and Ruby of our training centre in New Delhi got a first-hand impression of how life at an Indian prison looks like.

“On 7th June 2019 we were very apprehensive when our trainer informed us that we would be visiting jail no-5 at Tihar Jail. Tihar Jail is largest complex of prisons in south Asia. The event was organized as a social endeavor of the Samuel Foundation.

We were supposed to visit Tihar Jail no-5 which is meant for youth between the ages of 18 to 21 years. These inmates come from some neighborhoods as we do.

There is a huge difference in our condition and theirs – although the aspirations, ambitions, and the frustrations due to the economic divide in the society remain the same, the inmates took violence and illegal activities as the source of fulfilling these aspirations and we on the other hand got guidance and a sense of direction through the Samuel Foundation. It sends a shiver down our spine to think if we had not found the Samuel Foundation it could have been us or any of my classmates.

The event at Tihar Jail was a cultural contribution by us. We helped the inmates choreograph a dance performance. We were astonished at the kind of atmosphere we observed at the jail. The inmates were very disciplined and the jail authorities were making things comfortable and they were very encouraging and welcoming. To our surprise, the inmates had prepared their own performance for us which showed nothing but enthusiasm and raw talent among them.”