By Mariano R. Alonso
A variety of traditional Paraguayan handicrafts, created by women prisoners of the Good Shepherd, have been displayed during Expo-2012: XXXI International Trade Fair on Livestock, Industry, Agriculture, Commerce and Services show. The theme for this year’s show was ‘A Celebration of Work’. The women contributing to the show are involved in a project that was established by the Paraguayan Red Cross with support from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).
The project took a stand at the Paraguayan Institute of Crafts (IPA), and over the 15 days of the show, the women's association "Kuña Katupyry" presented a range of garments for men, women and children, and handicraft products for the home made using a variety of traditional methods and materials.
The craft project, which was launched in 2008, gives detainees an opportunity to generate an income, improve their living conditions and strengthen their dignity. The initiative is also a way to help women reintegrate into society.
The ICRC and the Paraguayan Red Cross provide material and technical support for the project with craft courses and workshops on subjects including management, personal development and cooperatives.
The products created by women in the classroom and in their free time within the prison are sold by families and friends. Using proceeds from the sale of the products they make, women help their families economically and finance their livelihood.