Founded in 1999, FreeHands now has about 40 members. 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 130 USD (~£75).
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 craft classes
and we encourage those ladies outside prison to study and take courses.
We are currently seeking 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
We are dreaming about owning our own workshop. To enable us
to achieve our primary aim of empowering members to enjoy a fresh start in life,
it is necessary to have suitable premises to provide refuge, a workshop and a
shop within the same building. It is our dream to own such premises
thereby saving the high monthly rent. Therefore any financial help in this area would be very much appreciated.