A group of inmates seeks a second life by weaving bags with recycled plastic


VALENCIA

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The Archdiocese of Valencia develops a crochet workshop in which Nine semi-free women learn to weave bags with reused plastic so that they give a second life to plastic and work to have a second chance for themselves.

As a result of the video promoted by the Penitentiary Pastoral, entitled «Ellas», with the testimony of women in the third degree who live in an apartment managed by the Archbishopric in Valencia «the idea of ​​this workshop arose, involving these women who fight for their reintegration, to empower them and value the work they do, ”explains Víctor Aguado, head of the Penitentiary Ministry.

This video «is the result of the voluntary and selfless work of a group of young people who, after learning about the reality of these women and their struggle to reintegrate into society, decided to make it to try change the situation of marginality suffered by prison inmates, ”says Aguado.

One of the promoters of the video, Yasmina Benabdelkrim, «suggested that we go one step further and involve the women who live in the flat in this new crochet workshop that has been taking place since September, with the support of the Archdiocese through the Pastoral Penitentiary, which, in this way, continues its work of accompanying the inmates, both inside and outside the prison, ”Aguado highlights.

Image of the crochet workshop on the floor managed by Pastoral Penitenciaria in Valencia
Image of the crochet workshop on the floor managed by Pastoral Penitenciaria in Valencia – V. GUTIÉRREZ / AVAN

Much complicity between them

Every Friday, the nine students of the workshop, which will end next week, meet on the terrace of the “Antonia María de la Misericordia” apartment, in Valencia, and for four hours they weave, in addition to the bags, a bond and complicity between them.

«I think it is something innate in the groups of women who weave together, they talk about family and friends, the couple, childcare, feminism, the present … “, comments Noelia Coll, Valencian artisan and head of the workshop, along with Yasmina Benabdelkrim and Paula Camarasa, in charge of the artistic direction and design of the bags, respectively.

In fact, Noelia Coll, who is in charge of training and pattern making, teaches them to weave «but when they talk to each other I am a mere observer, they generate conversations and it is very enriching on both sides», He says.

These three months of the workshop «we have proposed as a beginning of the project, to see the response of the students, and they liked it a lot, they are very happy, and we are also very satisfied, so it is everyone’s wish to continue so that new students join or the old ones perfect the technique ».

Image of Paula Camarasa, one of those responsible for the workshop, together with her students
Image of Paula Camarasa, one of those responsible for the workshop, along with her students – V. GUTIÉRREZ / AVAN

A big bag, a hundred bags less at sea

The workshop, in addition to being a means for reintegration, develops the project called “Bags made out of bags”, that is, bags made from bags. It consists of making designer bags by hand with recycled plastic threads, «An idea that arose from an exhibition to raise awareness about the immense amount of plastic that we use and discard and that ends up in the sea, and from a bag that Paula’s aunt, called Carmen, made with plastic bags 20 years ago », Details Coll.

Thus, after the production of the video “They”, and to give continuity to the work of raising awareness by the Archbishop about the reality of the prison world, the workshop was launched in September, with the dual objective of second chance and environmental, which includes 48 hours of training.

Image of Noelia Coll, one of those responsible for the workshop, along with her students
Image of Noelia Coll, one of those responsible for the workshop, along with her students – V. GUTIÉRREZ / AVAN

The first fruits can be seen on Instagram ( @bagsmadeoutofbags) and the idea is to create a web page later. Each bag “will be sold with a label that indicates the bags that have been used to make it and the hours used, and who is the author, to give value to the work of these women, who will also receive a percentage of the sale, “says Coll.

The benefit of reintegration «is evident, since women in the third grade receive individual tools to feel capable of entering the labor sector since learn crochet or crochet technique and lost skillsHow to use your hands, as well as learning to read patterns, give volume and count points, ”he emphasizes.

To this benefit is added another equally fundamental: the environmental. From a bag they make continuous thread and with it, the balls that they transform into a bag, and they have seven different models. In fact, to make a small bag they use about 30 plastic grocery bags and six hours of work, while for a large one, between 80 and 100 bags and around 10 hours.

Image of the crochet workshop on the floor managed by Pastoral Penitenciaria in Valencia
Image of the crochet workshop on the floor managed by Pastoral Penitenciaria in Valencia – V. GUTIÉRREZ / AVAN

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