The Humanitas360 Institute took the American plastic artist Liza Lou to learn about the innovative work that is being carried out at the Ananindeua Women’s Reeducation Center (CRF) in Pará, with the aim of introducing her to COOSTAFE. The COOSTAFE (Social Cooperative of Work and Female Art Entrepreneur) is the first cooperative in Brazil formed exclusively by inmates. In addition to developing manual skills, producing pieces such as household utensils and toys, the cooperative allows inmates to generate income for their families from the prison unit.
Thanks to the leadership of Dr. Carmen Botelho, director of the unit, the Ananindeua CRF became a model of good practice in Brazil. The proposal of Humanitas360 (H360), in association with the Bethlehem Social Observatory, Susipe (Superintendence of the Penitentiary System of the State of Pará) and the CRF is to provide COOSTAFE members and Liza Lou with a space to make art together, develop new capacities and give more visibility to the cooperative as a model to replicate in other Brazilian prisons.
“For our Institute it is a great satisfaction to be part of and promote ideas and initiatives that seek to value and open paths of opportunity for citizens who are in a forgotten niche of society. Our proposal is to articulate between public power, civil society and private initiative, and together, assume a civic co-responsibility towards these people. They did not cease to be citizens, they are only deprived of their freedom, “said Patricia Marino, president of H360.
The Humanitas Institute took advantage of the meeting to sign a memorandum of understanding with Susipe to provide the project, which is in the phase of design and fundraising, a legal basis and guarantee its evolution. The beginning of the work is scheduled for the second half of 2017. “It is necessary to mobilize society so that there is a change of thought, once they see that the people who are here are capable of producing something beautiful, and that through from their work they can change their perspective of life, modify their social behavior.