I can remember how powerful was the message of this social entrepreneurship project, RECLUSA, resonating in media and social innovation circles in 2010 – 2011.
Everyone wanted a bag made by Reclusa members because the design was wonderful but the contribution to female inmates well-being and authonomy was a must.
Relaunched after a process of renewal in 2016, RECLUSA became a social brand of luxury bags and accessories made by Portuguese female inmates reintegrating in society after serving their sentences. Supported by the following principles: zero waste, empowerment, fair trade and diversity, the project works at different stages: Design Lab, Academy, Selling and Community. Their moto is Made to Break.
By bringing innovative design and high-quality manufacturing inside correctional facilities, the founders of RECLUSA gave a second chance and hope to these women with limited access to resources and employment opportunities.
The support goes beyond economic opportunities, and work is also done in order to strengthen the community and aspirations. Follow-them in Instagram or Facebook.
Another similar experience is taking place in Brazil, but focused on male inmates. Raquel Guimaraes, Brazilian fashion designer, expanded her business by cooperating with men who knitting for her in exchange for pay and reduced sentences. Reuters published an excellent story about them.
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