Desperation makes people do things often leading to regret. Mallika* was a victim of desperation before being labelled a criminal. Trapped in an abusive marriage at a young age of 23, she was burdened with providing for her two children.

Mallika’s husband, the sole provider of her family was an alcoholic and had difficulty holding onto a job. He would squander away his meagre earnings on alcohol and often the family would be left to fend for themselves. To escape the inevitable poverty, Mallika started to work as a maid. But her petty earnings did not suffice her family’s need.

One day, desperate to provide the minimal for her family, Mallika decided to steal. On 16th November 2017, on a moving local train, she pickpocketed a fellow passenger, but got caught. The railway police recovered the stolen money and a mobile phone from Mallika and put her behind bars.

Sahaara conducts legal aid and assistance for prisoners in various prisons in the city. We counsel first-time petty offenders and assist them in their release and reintegration into society with dignity.

During one of the regular visits to Byculla Prison, Sahaara staff met Mallika who was now worried about her children. The staff counselled Mallika, who initially vehemently denied her crime, but soon realized her mistake and admitted what she had done. With the help of another NGO, the staff bought food and basic necessities for Mallika’s family as they were in need. When her case was presented at a Court, a remorseful Mallika pleaded guilty to the accusations brought against her and expressed regret. On February 17th, 2018 with the help of Sahaara, Mallika was able to pay the bail amount and was released.

We are glad that we could help Mallika have a second chance at life and offer her timely help. Today she understands there are no short-cuts to a life of dignity and works hard to overcome the hurdles life has to offer.

*Name changed to protect the identity.