Brazilian prisoners sew their way back into society

21 August 2013


Though it might look like a designer house, this is a Brazilian prison near Sao Paulo.

Every day, about one hundred prisoners sew sport clothes, nets and balls, as part of the “Paint Freedom” project, financed by the Sao Paulo’s ministry of sports.

SOUNDBITE 1 Eduardo Teixeira (man), prisoner, (Portuguese, 14 sec)

“From a human point of view I am learning a lot, above all about dignity, here you can go everywhere holding your head high, they treat you differently as well, not like prisoners but like any ordinary citizen.”

Sentenced for drug trafficking, theft or murder, they are now sewing their way back into society. They can earn up to 300 euros a month and for three days of work their release is moved forward by one day.

An initiative centred around football that has gone down well with the inhabitants of Sao Paulo, thanks to the popularity of the sport.

SOUNDBITE 2 Luiz Carlos Martins (man), Representative of the “Paint Freedom” project in Sao Paulo (Portuguese, 10 sec)

“Sports is a great way for people to be together, united, so they can share a space, respect each other."

Everything that is made by the prisoners goes to state schools and associations, like the Project Peregrino in Cabucu, a poor neighbourhood 40 km from Sao Paulo. The project organizes activities for the kids of the area, including playing football, for free.

SOUNDBITE 3 Fabricio Camargo (man), member of the Peregrino Project (Portuguese, 6 sec):

“I think it’s great that they can change their life by doing something good for other people.”

SOUNDBITE 4 Ruda Costa (man), coach at the Peregrino Project (Portuguese, 15 sec)

“The prisoners project goes well with our vision which is that of transmitting to these kids and young people principles and values that they can keep throughout their life.”

And so the prisoners continue their work in the knowledge that every shirt and every ball is going a little way to helping kids on the outside, and bringing closer the day when they will be able to join them.




- VAR of the Nilton Silva prison in Franco de Rocha, 50km from Sao Paulo.

- VAR of the prisoners sewing iwth sewing machines

- Shot of prisoners with nets

- Shot of a group of prisoners sewing balls


- VAR of prisoners at work


- VAR of the Peregrino project in Cacucu, 40km from Sao Paulo



- VAR of a prisoner sewing on a sewing machine



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