Neza inmates knit “Fridas” to gather funds

Female inmates knit rescue dogs to aid the earthquake victims
A stuffed "Frida" toy - Photos courtesy of the organization
03/10/2017
15:00
Jatziri Sánchez
Mexico City
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From jail, dozens of female inmates from the prisons in Barrientos, Ecatepec and the south of Nexahualcóyotl have a new mission: knit rescue dogs to aid the earthquake victims of September 19.

Hand-knitted with good-quality yarn in order to compete with the best products in the market, these women saw the opportunity to knit “Frida” and another rescue dog to contribute to the reconstruction of Mexico through La Cana, an organization which creates dignified job opportunities for women in prison.

“Later that day, one of them said to me: 'My relatives told me there are doggies rescuing people. Why don't we knit a stuffed toy of the doggy and sell it? We can gather funds for the victims,'” said Daniel Ancira, one of the founding partners of La Cana, recalling what an inmate told her.

“They feel like they are part of a greater cause,” added Ms. Ancira.

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They have rejected to collect the profits for themselves – they want to gather money as quick as possible to rebuild the homes of those who have lost it all.

“Their products are out of stock at the moment, but we're making more and we will keep making them to gather funds,” said the founding partner.

La Cana is an organization of young lawyers born four years ago with the objective of improving the quality of life of the female inmates and help them rejoin society.

“We began when we were Law students, at the Anáhuac University; we are now lawyers and we all met while studying,” said Ms. Ancira.

She recounts they visited the Barrientos prison and saw the deficiencies of the prison system, which spur them into action and made them decide to start with the most urgent need: money.

“Everything has a price there, from hot water to food,” she acknowledged.

She told us several of the inmates knew how to knit and it was just a matter to teach them how to make a product that could sell well, using quality material.

The organization and the inmates have already participated in making octopi for the premature babies of the Mexican Social Security Institute (IMSS).

“We join as many causes as we can. I came up with the idea of the octopi and I proposed it to the inmates,” she recalls.

According to Ms. Ancira, the funds gathered from the sale of the stuffed rescue dogs will be donated to a project called Échale a tu Casa (Give it to Your House), a foundation which has been operating for several years and which aims to rebuild the homes of the victims.

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