Sewing machines needed for prison

A charity project initiated to support over 7,000 prisoners at the Silves Regional Prison Establishment now includes sewing classes which are growing in popularity by the week, said the project coordinator.

Promoting hope and positivity, the Castelo de Sonhos’ prison project, labelled Fora de Portas (Out of Doors), has now introduced sewing classes to the prisoners on a twice weekly basis.

Liliana Rodrigues, founder of Castelo de Sonhos based in Silves, told the Algarve Resident that most men participating in the classes are serving time due to petty crimes, including drug related offences, and “all regret the decisions they made in the past”. At the sewing class, on Tuesdays and Fridays, men are able to learn a new skill with many now creating items of clothing, including dresses for their girlfriends, said Liliana.

“We currently have 21 students and are working with three machines, but this is difficult, given the enthusiasm of the men and increasing student numbers,” she said.

Castelo de Sonhos is appealing to the public who may be able to offer any kind of sewing assisting materials and second-hand sewing machines, which are “most desperately needed”.

Liliana believes that the majority of the men at the prison are there due to a life of extensive poverty and if she does not offer help, once they are released, poverty will take its stance once more and history will be repeated. “Everyone deserves a chance,” she said.

The Castelo de Sonhos charity, founded in 1999, aims to support and protect children and families in situations of poverty and danger. However, with hopes of helping the widest range of people possible, Liliana began working with the men at the prison two years ago.

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