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Founded in 1999, Freehands has been able to work with and support many hundreds of women and children over the years mainly from the penal system here in Bolivia.  The majority of the members are or have been in jail for reasons relating to severe poverty. Many of them are the sole provider for their families. Existence within the prison is financially draining - the women have to provide their own food, drinks and clothing as well as provide for their children who live in the prison with them.

When they leave the prison the bonds of debt and poverty remain – debts accumulated whilst in prison need to be repaid and living and accommodation costs must be met. It is essential that the members earn enough money to support themselves and their children so that they do not have to face the temptation to earn money dishonestly. We estimate that the very least a woman with three children needs to survive each month is $360 USD (approx.£300).

The group works developing their craft talents in order to provide just such a source of income so that the ladies may break the chains of debt, earn an honest wage and support their children. A sufficient family wage is a key factor in prohibiting the migration of children onto the streets. Accordingly all the profits go to the woman who made the item and to support the project.

In addition through FreeHands the members receive the help they need to re-enter society after leaving San Sebastián. We now have our own childcare facility which fills the gaps left by other programmes we're able to link the children with.  FreeHands provides help in accessing regular childcare, medical treatment and legal advice. We also offer Bible studies, pastoral care and counselling. Within the prison we lead life skills classes along with craft classes and we encourage and support those ladies outside prison to study and take additional courses.

CHILD SPONSORSHIP

We continue to seek sponsors to help support the children of these prisoners and ex-prisoners until the mothers can generate sufficient income to provide for the needs of their family. To find out how you can sponsor a child, contact Suzanne.   

Laura working
Maria and Katerin
Antonia machine embroidering
Sewing workstation

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