IN one of the stalls at the Pasalubong Center are trinkets and knick-knacks that is worth more than you are paying for.
The figurines from recycled plastics, handcrafted flowers from old stockings, tiny buri hats, and hand-molded decorative candles are the handicrafts of prisoners at the Davao Prison and Penal Farm better known as Dapecol in Braulio Dujali town of Davao del Norte and the neighboring women correctional at the Juan Acenas Sub-Colony in Sto. Tomas, Davao del Norte.
Marylou “Neneng” Zarate, who herself grew up in Dapecol being a daughter of a prison employee, said that she helps the prisoners with their livelihood programs, encouraging the inmates to make productive use of their time instead of just waiting around while serving their sentence.
She hopes they can sell a lot to make the endeavor worthwhile for the inmates, she said, in a chance encounter at the Pasalubong Center recently.
More than that, she said, she hopes that they will continue to enjoy the space they have been given at the center.
“They have very strict requirements, everything must be handcrafted,” she said in the vernacular.
But she is glad that they are able to bring the prisoners’ crafts to mainstream knick-knacks market. This already means a lot.
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