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There was excitement in the air as inmates of Adriano Marrey Prison outside Sao Paulo hosted models in a catwalk on Wednesday.
The Models from the Sao Paulo Fashion Week paraded a collection of Fashion works at the maximum security prison in front of the inmates who made them.
The inmates were the ones who created the crochet bodices, cheeky skirts and denim finishes featured by the models on parade.
As a way of rehabilitation at the facility, the inmates are trained on acquiring the skill of crochet making — a technique similar to knitting to help in building their self esteem and enabling their capable hands to be productive and creative.
Prison inmates who were beneficiary of the training were elated as their hard work and hand work did not go unnoticed. Fidelison Borges 41, a beneficiary and inmate who is serving a combined 18 years for armed robbery and drug trafficking said he was over the moon when people liked the piece that he made.
“I was proud of myself seeing my creation being modeled for the public and even more proud to know that people liked that piece that I made,”
The project called Ponto Firme, introduced to Prisons by Brazilian fashion Designer Gustavo Silvestre in 2016 has been able to train and empower prisoners at facilities with skills that could also aid them outside the prisons upon their release.
The initiator of the Programme Gustavo Silvestre recalls an instance were the skill had helped inmates build a better life outside the fall walls of the cells, according to him a former inmate who, upon his release, sold some of his crochet work to fund his application for a driver’s license.
“He won’t carry on with crochet, but it is helping him to build his path,” said Silvestre.
“He wants to drive his Uber, be a taxi driver, own a business, but it’s crochet that’s helping him with these first steps.”
Of the over 2,200 inmates at Adriano Marrey penitentiary, majority were convicted for drug trafficking with more than 70% of them school drop outs.
Felipe Santos da Silva, 28, one of the inmate who also benefited from the training said Crochet “created a will in me, it calms me down, it helped me overcome smoking and using drugs,”
Da silva is currently serving 11 years for robbery.
As a morale booster, sentences of inmates who participate are reduced by one day for every 12 hours completed in the program.