Indira Ranamagar

Ashoka Fellow
Fellow Since 2005


This profile was prepared when Indira Ranamagar was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2005.
The New Idea
In Nepal, little thought is given to the treatment of prisoners—or to how that treatment ultimately ends up hurting society. Indira is helping released prisoners re-integrate into mainstream society. First, she is working to improve the conditions inside prisons, in hopes that eliminating the conditions associated with prison life will lessen its characteristic “hardening” influence. Prisoners are seen as rejects of society, a label from which it is difficult to rebound in close-knit, traditional Nepali communities.
Second, she is working with the local community to try to reduce the common prejudice that Nepalese people feel against ex-cons that hinders sincerely reformed ex-prisoners from finding employment. This ensures that released prisoners are accepted back into their families and can make a new beginning as contributing members of the society. This is where her work, unlike many others, takes into account the children of the prisoners: often the unintended victims of their parents’ crimes.
Finally, she brings prisoners opportunities for education, so that when they are released they will have some practical skills to fall back on rather than simply returning to crime.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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