Stories from the inside #1

Women's prison, Cusco, Peru 2016. All rights reserved. 

Women's prison, Cusco, Peru 2016. All rights reserved. 

 

Around the world, poverty is the main cause of female incarceration. In Peru the majority of women in prison are sentenced for drug-trafficking because they are used as 'drug mules'. The drug cartels target girls from poor backgrounds, often the young, beautiful and pregnant girls, because they have better chances of getting through customs. The girls that get caught are given prison sentences of 8 - 15 years. In Peru, the number of women in prison has risen 100% the past 15 years.

The women spend much of their time in prison sewing and knitting. They either give the garments to family members to wear or to sell at the local market. However, the women can barely make a living of these products and are often an economic burden to their family. 

Women's prison, Cusco, Peru 2016. All rights reserved.

Women's prison, Cusco, Peru 2016. All rights reserved.

 

We want to transform the women's wasted time behind bars into an opportunity to break the cycle of poverty and gain new skills. We do it through beautiful clothing in Scandinavian design, made of the planet's most exclusive materials. We begin in Peru with a fantastic collection in 100% baby alpaca wool, also known as the Fiber of the Gods. Every piece is made in prison. 

Meet Edith, she will be producing your clothes. 

Women's prison, Cusco, Peru 2016. All rights reserved.

 

My name is Edith Sanchez Huaitara

I am 37 years old.

I don’t have children and I am not married. 

I was born in Huancavelica and I have lived a while in Lima.

"The reason I am here is because I trusted the wrong person, I shouldn’t have fallen in love. I considered him to be trustworthy because he had the right age and was ready to settle down and have a family, but I was wrong with this person who I trusted, he could trick me because I trusted him. I regret now that I trusted him, I never had the idea that we were transporting drugs, I didn’t even know Cusco the town we were going to.

Women's prison, Cusco, Peru 2016. All rights reserved.

Women's prison, Cusco, Peru 2016. All rights reserved.

 

I work in a workshop for a company and I knit on a machine, I knit traditional Andean hats, jumpers and mittens.

I think a lot about my family and being together with them. I yearn to be with them. I also think about leaving this place to work for my future and for my family. I also think a lot about my niece who I left when she was so small.

Women's prison, Cusco, Peru 2016. All rights reserved.

Women's prison, Cusco, Peru 2016. All rights reserved.

My dream is to leave this place and to make my own business and work together with my family and to be with my parents so they can be together and so they don’t need anything. I know they miss me a lot and I miss them deeply.

This is my dream and I know God will give me life and freedom. I will achieve this, only God knows every moment of my life and I hope that soon it will happen. 

Edith is incarcerated in Cusco's women's prison. She will be part of making your clothes in 100% baby alpaca wool. We give her and her fellow inmates skills and training. With every order, women in prison get to earn an income. This way, they can support themselves, their children and gain dignity and purpose behind bars. 

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stinne wilhelmsen