In one-of-a-kind initiative, women inmates of Tihar Jail showcased their fashion streak at a show organised by Pearl Academy and walked the ramp with a lot of oomph in the Capital recently.

The runway show was organised to mark the convocation ceremony of the first batch of at least 20 inmates at the Tihar Fashion Laboratory, started by the jail and Pearl Academy in February this year.

Determined to keep its spirit of restorative rehabilitation, Delhi Prisons, in collaboration with Pearl Academy, had set up Tihar Fashion Laboratory. This unique idea was conceived to provide the women prisoners with a set of skills that will enable them to create avenues for self-employment, entrepreneurship and ensure that the inmates can lead an independent life.

Garments showcased at the fashion show were designed by the students of Pearl Academy and were made by the inmates at the Tihar Fashion Laboratory. The show saw joint participation from Pearl Academy students and Tihar inmates, who walked the ramp to showcase the collection. The first batch of inmates, who completed this course, was awarded certificates at the convocation ceremony.

The next batch is slated to commence soon, said Nandita Abraham, CEO, Pearl Academy. Interestingly, the inmates have been trained by the academy in pattern-making and construction of Indian wear. The certification course was aimed at linking creative exploration and market understanding. The programme has, in a way, empowered each inmate to recognise their true potential and develop aptitude in their area of expertise.

Following the footsteps of Tihar, Presidency Correctional Home in Kolkata has collaborated with designer Abhishek Dutta to train 40 inmates through a fashion unit to stitch trendy apparel ~ like Nehru jackets, kurtas, shirts and harem pants ~ besides bags, belts and shoes. Kailash Gehlot, Delhi’s minister for law, justice and legislative affairs; and Swati Jaihind, chairperson, Delhi Commission for Women were also present in the occasion.

Professor Nandita Abraham, CEO, Pearl Academy said, “This certification programme is a unique initiative that has helped the women inmates learn self-sustaining skills and has equipped them with the means to earn a livelihood in their life after prison. It gives me immense satisfaction and pride that we have been able to add skills that will contribute to make life more sustainable for these inmates.

As Pearl Academy celebrates its silver jubilee journey this year, we look forward to taking more such initiatives and imparting skill-based learning that strongly promotes inclusion as a part of the learning process.”

Adding to that, Sudhir Yadav, DG Prisons, Tihar Jail, said, “The Pearl Fashion Laboratory initiative has seen an amazing response and participation from inmates. I am happy that they have completed their course and have been imparted with skills that will help them lead an independent life after prison. This is for the first time that an education institute has partnered with us for such an initiative and I thank Pearl Academy for their continuous cooperation and efforts in starting this well thoughtout certification programme for the inmates.”