3rd January 2019

De-addiction program for Arthur Road Jail Inmates

In December 2018, Divyaj Foundation, under the guidance of Advisor Mrs. Amruta Fadnavis, launched the ‘Second Chance’ initiative aimed at the rehabilitation of undertrial inmates of Arthur Road Jail, Mumbai. The maiden Wellness Program under this initiative received overwhelming positive response from all the inmates who participated and the officials of the Maharashtra Prison Department.

After this triumphant maiden program, further discussions were held between Mr. Harshad Ahirrao, Superintendent – Mumbai Central Jail, and Mrs. Amruta Fadnavis to address any other major issues faced by the inmates. It was deemed unanimously that the major concern plaguing the inmates was addiction to alcohol and drugs, with more blame on the latter of the two.

Arthur Road Jail actually houses a nursing home within its premises that is frequented by inmates suffering from withdrawal symptoms. While they receive care and medication during their term in the prison to counter their addictions, it was found that more often than not, most of them revert to their addictions upon their release from prison. To address this growing concern of addiction, which actually plagues not just the Arthur Road Jail inmates but practically all the prisons around the world, Divyaj Foundation organized a Deaddiction Program for about 800 inmates on 3rd January, 2019.

Dr. Ashish Deshpande, a prominent consulting psychiatrist from Mumbai, hosted the deaddiction program for the inmates with utmost perfection. Dr. Deshpande is a Life Fellow of the Indian Psychiatric Society and the former President of Bombay Psychiatric Society (2015-16). Through various committees, he has also been associated with the Directorate of Mental Health, State Government of Maharashtra. He takes great interest in familiarizing the world with mental health by using the print and the electronic media with the ‘Satyameva Jayate’ – Alcohol episode being his most celebrated effort.

Along with Dr. Deshpande, Indian film and television actor and one of the most well-known faces in Marathi film industry, Swwapnil Joshi too interacted with the enthralled 800 attendees. His presence engulfed the prison with much exuberance and he interacted, and even sang and danced, with the inmates to add to their excitement. Witnessing a famous celebrity’s genuine concern over their addiction problems definitely left a mark on all the inmates which was especially needed since addiction is an extremely serious and sensitive issue. Mr. Swwapnil Joshi’s highly motivational speech to the inmates was followed by an impactful address by Mrs. Amruta Fadnavis.

Divyaj Foundation 2018

This deaddiction program was the first of many such programs by Divyaj Foundation to come in the future under the ‘Second Chance’ initiative since there are many facets of addiction that cannot be addressed in a single session. But this was undoubtedly a terrific start for ‘Second Chance’.