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A unique program has been launched at the Cipinang Penitentiary in Indonesia, where young male prisoners are learning to stitch patchwork handicrafts from textile scraps from factories. These products are then sold in bazaars and exhibitions under the label “Elpina Craft.”

These inmates and criminal offenders are referred to as sampah masyarakat, dangerous and useless to society. Even after they serve their time, they suffer from the stigma of having been on the ‘inside’. Now, they are learning a skill they will help them to create new and useful items that may help them improve their lives. Not only do they develop their skills, but they also have a savings account in which the proceeds of their handicraft sales are deposited.

Prisoners learn to work in a routine, to work in a better environment and have a sense of accomplishment, while empowering themselves and their communities. In fact, one of the inmates, Narto, plans to open a small shop selling handmade patchwork clothes and handicrafts after he is released in 2012.

Such a story is great inspiration to the power that social entrepreneurs have around the world and the difference a skill like creating handicrafts can make in people’s lives.

Many of our products at Shopanthropic have unique stories like this one. So check out our products and experience the difference handicrafts can make in your life and in the lives of the artisans to create these beautiful products.

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