Hindu inmates at Penang prisons may miss their families during the festival of lights.
But surely they are not going to miss the Deepavali delicacies and cookies, thanks to Penang Hindudharma Mamandram, a non-govermental organisation (NGO).
The NGO distributed 3,500 packets traditional festive delicacies and cookies a few days ago for inmates in Penang Remand Prison (2,100 packets) in George Town and Jawi Prison (1,400 packets) in the Northern Seberang Perai (SPU) district.
The NGO has been carrying out this festive activity for the last 33 years.
“We know we are not doing anything big compared to other big organisations. But we believe our sincere contribution of home cooked Indian tradtional cookies will at least bring cheer to Indian inmates in this prison,” said the organisation Penang chairman V.Nandakumar.
“We want these inmates to think of their loved ones, especially, their parents as they enjoy the cookies that we prepared traditionally to give them moral support during Deepavali that they were people out there who cared for them.”
It is also a way for the association to promote and foster goodwill among the inmates with society outside.
Penang Remand Prison Director Deputy Commisioner Tey Hock Soon said that the visit and care shown by such association would go a long way in helping to rehabilitate a prisoner to lead a positive light.
“Society will have to play a role in helping these prisoners as they will appreciate that they are people out there who care for them besides their parents.
“This noble act of looking for less fortunate and helping them must be encouraged and be part of our routine, not just during festive occasion but throughout the year, “ he said.
Besides visiting inmates, the Mamandram also plan to hold religious class for inmates to deepen their faith and help them with rehabilitation.