July marked important advances in the Humanitas360 Institute project to implement the first cooperative of detainees in the state of São Paulo. In addition to the improvement in the quality of craftsmanship produced by the members of the cooperative in the Tremembé Women’s Penitentiary 2, who receive guidance from specialized professionals hired by H360, the highlight of the month was the involvement of volunteers such as designer Camila Testa, restaurateur Isabel Milani and the artist Paulo von Poser.
One of the pillars of Humanitas360’s work is to take members of civil society to volunteer inside prisons so they can learn about the reality of the criminal justice system and understand how that impacts the violence that continues to grow throughout Latin America. Having independent voices from regular citizens, whose personal experiences help emphasize the thesis that mass incarceration helps increase the power of criminal factions, is fundamental in the process of changing society’s mentality about this topic.
Artist Paulo von Poser taught drawing workshops that helped unleash the detainees’ creativity. Poser’s work played a key role in developing the themes of the embroideries that add a unique personality to the collection that the inmates have been creating under the coordination of Renato Imboisi and Cristiana Pereira Beretto.
Designer Camila Testa and remodeling specialist Isabel Milani have also been offering support to the detainees as they improve their embroidery and sewing skills. By teaching new stitches and giving tips on how to work better and faster, their involvement has been extremely positive. Furthermore, the support has not only been limited to teaching technical abilities. With each visit, a deeper human connection has been built between the inmates and the volunteers. Testa and Milani, for example, were the ones that pinpointed vision problems in many of the detainees as they were not able to make stitches with the precision that was required. As a result, the volunteers in partnership with the members of the Community Council of Taubaté led a taskforce to provide eyeglasses to those in need.