Therapeutic crafts take on a dual purpose
It’s a statistic with far-reaching consequences: every minute in Brazil four women are abused, and beyond the physical effects, many suffer high rates of depression, low self-esteem and unemployment. For some the answer to regaining their lives is Casa da Mulher Ruth Cardoso, a center for victims of abuse that offers support and various craft projects as a means of therapy.
The Enactus team at the Federal Center for Technological Education, Rio de Janeiro partnered with the center in an effort to help these women become active members of the community. The team recognized, with a little customization and supporting business know-how, that therapeutic activities could also provide women with a means to financially support themselves. They organized 25 of the women into a co-op and enhanced their crafts to include goods made out of normally-discarded items such as milk cartons, potato bags and fabric scraps. To promote their new venture, they organized a sales and awareness event in the busiest public square. This event raised R$70.00 and gave the women knowledge and opportunities to become financially independent.
Thanks to “Project Mulher,” an untapped opportunity is helping abused women who previously lacked marketable job skills and confidence to become productive members of a craft co-op. Women who were unemployed are now making regular incomes and other project participants have increased their incomes by 35 percent. In fact, members of the co-op are currently looking for a permanent location to produce and sell their wares.