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
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.
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