ABOUT THE MILLENNIUM FELLOWSHIP - CLASS OF 2021

United Nations Academic Impact and MCN are proud to partner on the Millennium Fellowship. In 2021, over 25,000 young leaders on 2,000+ campuses across 153 nations applied to join the Class of 2021. 136 campuses worldwide (just 6%) were selected to host the 2,000+ Millennium Fellows. The Class of 2021 is bold, innovative, and inclusive.

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UNITED NATIONS ACADEMIC IMPACT AND MCN PROUDLY PRESENT ASHNA DEVAPRASAD, A MILLENNIUM FELLOW FOR THE CLASS OF 2021.

National University of Advanced Legal Studies | Kochi, India | Advancing SDG 16 & UNAI 3

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" Empathy and inclusivity are two values that are at the core of my being. As a Millennium Fellow, I am excited to start a grassroots movement that creates awareness about the experiences of prisoners to ensure that their rights are meaningfully recognised by social policies that foster their well-being and equality, in line with the United Nation's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and human rights commitments. I am equally delighted to work and interact with a cohort of socially conscious individuals who strive toward bettering the world, each day, no matter how small. "

Millennium Fellowship Project: Stories Behind Bars (S.B.B.) Initiative

Stories Behind Bars (S.B.B) is a project led by Millennium Fellows Ashna Devaprasad, Varsha Thomas and Mohammed Dhulqr Shan to advocate for prisoners’ rights by creating awareness about their everyday experiences in the world. Today, a substantial body of research shows that a significant proportion of prisoners belong to marginalised and socioeconomically disadvantaged groups. Prisoners in India often do not receive adequate re-entry care through rehabilitative schemes, financial assistance, healthcare support and employment opportunities. The project aims to interact with around 20-30 prisoners, prison staff, and probation officers to understand the lived experiences of individuals forming part of our criminal justice system. Through our research, we seek to identify the effectiveness of current social justice interventions to safeguard the human rights of prisoners and their families, especially post-incarceration. In addition to mapping their experiences, we will carry out five sensitisation programs in colleges across Kerala, including our campus, reaching a target audience of 100 people while simultaneously creating networks to discuss these issues with legal aid societies, social justice offices, and state prisons. Using a combination of interactive presentations, interviews, and theoretical research, this project will urge community members to reflect on prisoners’ personal stories and compare their lives with popular dehumanising public narratives about them. By harnessing the power of stories, this project is taking forward the United Nations’ mission to promote fair, peaceful and inclusive societies by eliminating cruel punishment and securing the well-being of the prison community. It hopes to create a platform for legal empowerment and empathic discourse around criminal justice issues through social advocacy at the community level.

About the Millennium Fellow

Ashna Devaprasad is a final year law student at the National University of Advanced Legal Studies, Kochi, India. With a passion for social justice and community building, she hopes to effectively apply academic research in criminal justice and human rights to fight against everyday injustices in real-world settings. She is specifically interested in empowering marginalised communities by amplifying their voices through local advocacy movements and using socio-legal policies to humanize their stories.