Inmates managing to feed families from behind bars

DAMAULI: Prisoners at the Tanahun prison have been preparing and selling stools from behind bars which allows them to send money to their families for Dashain.

Dashain, the biggest festival celebrated by the Hindus in Nepal, is round the corner and inmates, with the opportunity to work from inside the prison, have been sending their earnings home for about two weeks now.

“A total of 105 prisoners have managed to create a good market for the stools they produce, especially in Pokhara. They have also extended their sales to Damauli, Dumre, Abukhaireni, Khairenitar and Bhimada,” said Bijay Raj Poudel, head of the jail.

As the season demands, stocks prepared so far and stored in warehouses, are ready for sale and are sent out with the help of assigned contractors.

Raw materials used in making the stools are bamboo, rope, ring, colours, among others. Initially, prisoners faced difficulties making stools due to lack of raw materials.

Price of the stool ranges from Rs 250 to Rs 375, and if in demand, inmates also make dining tables and manage to earn nearly Rs 12,000 to Rs 15,000 per order.

Nara Bahadur Chand, convicted on a rape charge, has been sending home the money he earns from stool making for Dashain. Other inmates including Pawan Sunar, Raju Sapkota, Binod Pariyar, Sushil Pokhrel have managed to send approximately Rs 7,000-8,000 to their families for the festival.

It has been learnt that some of the prisoners even weave and sell nets from inside the jail to make money.

Tanahun prison -- with a capacity of 25 prisoners -- has been housing a total of 144 jailbirds including 63 convicts and 81 others waiting for their trial.