It was around 2011 when we first arrived at the prison and it happened in an unusual way.
Being a temple for female monastics, people have been thoughtful consequently, when they brought their offerings, they also thought of the need for sanitary napkins. Our temple is small, and most members are past the fertile period of life so sanitary napkins began to pile up and take space.
When we have surplus rice, we take it to old homes, or male juvenile detention center, but they also have no need of sanitary napkins. Then an idea came: the provincial prison!
At that time, the provincial prison was still in town near the famous stupa. The total inmates were 3500 and out of this number, 700 of them were women. We approached the officers at the prison and told them of our idea of sharing the napkins with their female inmates. They were very happy, as they had to set up annual budget to cover this cost but with our offering they could save on that.
As conversation continued, the officer asked if the bhikkhunis can also give dhamma talk to the female inmates. Of course, we would be too happy to do it as it is our duty.
So that was the way we began, meeting the inmates. The Dhamma talks then developed into training programmes. Attending the training and obtaining a training certificate would also help to reduce their sentence.
We conduct the 10 session training twice a month and each year the training focuses on different practical topic, i.e. self-discipline, honesty, etc . Now, this training is the main training course for the female inmates of the Nakhon Pathom provincial prison.