Prayas has been working for the last 30 years to create pathways for the rehabilitation of persons in prison and protective custody. It has units in Mumbai, Bharuch and Latur that have been working to address the crisis arising out of the Covid-19 pandemic. Our experience shows that whenever there is a disaster situation, people living at the margins suffer the most and they remain invisible to policy makers and implementers. Many of our clients, who are casual workers and daily wage earners, were severely affected by the lockdown declared across India in March 2020.

Covid-19 Initiatives

The initiatives of Prayas are spread over three areas: Mumbai, Bharuch and Latur. In all three locations, the Prayas staff have responded proactively to the situation, in order to reach out to prisoners, under trials,  and their families, who are in acute distress. A brief summary of activities is given below. For more details, you could refer to this note.

  • Contacting clients and raising resources  from NGOs and individuals for rations and donations
  • Video appeal by the Project Director  on social media (Facebook) for funds to help clients:   
  • Assistance to the prison staff in liaising with families of prisoner.
  • Facilitating the return home of prisoners and undertrials who have received bail.
  • Interventions through the courts through advocating release of certain categories of prisoners and women and children in custodial institutions.
  • Interventions with released prisoners/women from institutions, in terms of providing resources and shelter.
  • Facilitating the participation of clients who have been lending a helping hand
  • Coordinating with the DLSA (full form?) in Bharuch to provide essential items to prisoners and relief to those stranded in public places.
  • Playing a coordination role between the DLSA, prison authorities and interested NGOs to provide rations to the families of prisoners and undertrials.


In Mumbai, there was no response or little response from some individuals who were contacted for help either in cash or kind. Due to non-availability of vehicles with the system, Prayas had to arrange for vehicles to reach the rations to clients. We are seeking permission from the police and DLSA to help us reach the rations to the clients without any obstacles. 

The workers are facing challenges in delivering the rations as the police are constantly questioning them and due to lack of written permission, it is at times difficult to convince them. We are unable to also put a banner of Prayas for distribution of rations on the vehicle as it would pass a message that the help is available for other needy people in the area, for which we do not have the resources. 

It is very heartening that our social workers volunteering to get out of homes and risk their health by delivering the rations are being supported by their families in their venture. Volunteers among our client group and other contacts are also willing to assist the Prayas staff in the delivery of rations to the clients. 

By and large the prison authorities have been cooperative, and NGOs have also helped provide for the needs of the families of prisoners. The challenges that will have to be surmounted with the extension of the lock down will put pressure on all systems and create severe distress for the families of prisoners and under trials.

Plans and Need for Resources

Post lockdown for rehabilitation and rebuilding lives, Prayas will intervene at two levels: 

While continuing to work on addressing emergency needs, Prayas will intervene towards providing psych-social support, skill development, linkages with alternate livelihoods/entrepreneurship, and stipend and travelling allowance (for basic mobility). In terms of outreach, Prayas plans to support nearly 3,000 (project beneficiaries and their family members) across locations (Mumbai, Thane, Navi Mumbai, Solapur, Latur and Bharuch).

This is an appeal to support our work through donations to be able to implement this plan. Individuals can also support by direct cash transfers to beneficiary accounts. Please get in touch at 




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