Country - Finland
Tg:
(ex) offenders
Activity: gardening/agriculture, integrated services, environmentally friendly

Roots to Freedom

The organisation

“Roots to freedom” is a nature based rehabilitation project for adult inmates in Kerava Prison in Finland in which garden and nature-based activities are offered both in open and closed prison. The aim is to create a wholesome nature-based rehabilitation-model, where an invididual path is created from the prison to civil life. They offer after-care once the sentence is over. They are also doing an evaluation of the method and its effects on prisoners. The project runs under the authority of Criminal Sanctions Agency in co-operation with Kriminaalihuollon tukisäätiö (NGO), a non profit aftercare foundation (for released prisoners and their families). It has been running since March 2013, and is expected to end in December 2014, based on funding from the European Social Fund.

Kerava prison has many different work-places, but in this project the prisoner works on nature based activities (in the garden, with animals, doing farm-work, working on natural parks doing developmental work, etc..) or construction work around Kerava prison. The prisoners take part in rehabilitating group-sessions that are based on Green Care activities and every prisoner has one-on-one sessions, in order to develop individual plans for after prison life.

The overall aim of the project is to create a wholesome rehabilitation model in Kerava prison, that includes group sessions, professional work/ education and personalised casework that continues after the prison sentence is over. The ideology is nature-based activities and nature-based thinking.

Results

They have had 45 inmates taking part so far, and it seems that the numbers are only increasing.

The key results of the project are the enabling of re-integration back to society through training of self-reflection and self-understanding, as well as a possibility to start over in life through education or work while in prison and to continue that path after prison.

All participants acquire an ecological way of thinking, and they gain responsibility, social skills, not losing one´s temper so quickly, respecting others and yourself and nature/society, horticultural skills, looking after weaker creatures (such as animals and flowers), etc. They develop those skills with the goal of moving on to regular paid employment. At the time of writing they did not yet have any numbers regarding paid employment because only few prisoners had been released so far. One of the ex-detainees continued studying in civil life.

In the beginning it was quite challenging to motivate prison staff to be active in the project, also creating something completely new inside a very strict prison-system, where safety is always priority number one, but they managed to do so successfully. So far they have had extremely good results considering that the project is only in the beginning. Nature-based activities were reported to activate inmates, give opportunities to strengthen self-efficacy by using former knowledge and skills and learning new ones, and to increase confidence in coping after discharge. Group activities contributed to the social interaction among inmates, and between inmates and staff. Through positive feedback from others, inmates identified favourable characteristics in themselves, which encouraged mutual relationships. Nature-based activities proved to be a means to execute on-site activities supporting rehabilitation by creating affordances of everyday life in a restricted environment.

To make their activities more sustainable, they have permanent prison staff members on the team, so once the project workers leave the permanent staff can continue the good work. Also they have been able to liaise with local professional educational schools that are willing to co-operate with Kerava prison even after the project is finished.

More information

Website: https://sites.google.com/site/juuretvapauteen/

E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

 


Country - Portugal
Activity:
Commercial + product sales + environmentally friendly
Target group: homeless + drug users + mental health problems

Cais

“It is important to develop a structured plan for a project, in short, medium and long terms. We also consider it important to conduct frequent assessment of the plan due to an ever changing context.”

The organisation

The “Cais Recicla” project started in May 2011 through a partnership between a private company (UNICER) and and an NGO (Cais) combining the needs of both parties. For Unicer, it was important to be an environmental friendly company; for CAIS, it was important to respond to the need for job placement and capacity building of the target groups. At Cais Recicla they use waste products for the manufacturing of new design products. After the creative process, the designer of the product provides training to the craftsmen, so they can manufacture the design using their own creative insight. Sometimes they also create or adjust exclusive products for a company or institution, or they work on simple hand-work orders from partners.

The association’s target group are people experiencing poverty and social exclusion. In general, CAIS´ target group includes people living in poverty, who normally have various other social problems. They may not only be ex-homeless, but also have had drug, alcohol and/or psychiatric problems. CAIS works with people that already have accommodation, because they have to have some basic stability and self-esteem to fulfil the work requirements.

The main aim of this project is the social-professional capacity building of people in situations of poverty and social exclusion. Specific objectives of Cais are: 1) to support the development of self-reliance of the target group; 2) to give the target group the possibility to acquire a fair compensation; 3) commercialise the developed products; and 4) obtain the sustainability of the business. So there are two types of objectives: those that are related to the target group and the others related to the business. They have social aims but no prejudices related to business objectives, because those are the ones that allows them to maintain the project and achieve sustainability.

The products are disseminated and marketed through a catalogue. The dissemination strategy is a priority element to be improved in this project. Through the last collection of Ecodesign they contacted a famous person and produced a photography session covered by invited social media. They often refuse invitations to small events because they refuse a “pity perspective” on their work. They want people to pay for their aesthetics and quality with a social contribution bonus.

Results

The public recognition of the project is the best result. This recognition led to the award of the prize to the Programme CAHO (Empowering Today) of the CAIS Association, by the European Economic and Social Committee. Through constant analysis and evaluation of results, various modifications were introduced along the way, such as diversification of the products, enlargement of partnerships, as well as continuous necessary adaptation of the project to the context. Although the concept of the project remains the same, it is essential to think and adapt the project continuously.

The elements of success identified are: the cooperation between those involved and the combined efforts working on a shared goal, the excellent quality and recognition of the products, and the recognition and appreociation of the work done by all the people in the project.

More information

Website: www.cais.pt

E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

 


Country - Switzerland
TG:
drug users
Activity: environmentally friendly

Job Tact Recycling

΅Being able to work is an integral part of human existence. Work not only does it secure existence, it is also key to confidence and satisfaction of any individual.”

The organization

Job Tact Recycling is part of Contact Netz Foundation in Bern, Switzerland and was founded in 1995. Since then it has been an integral part of the foundation’s job programmes and social enterprises concept for drug-dependents.

Job Tact is one in a series of different Contact Netz programmes, aiming at offering work opportunities for drug-dependents who are in a programme of substance-based therapy. Job Tact offers work places in social enterprises mainly in the areas of electronic recycling, gardening and construction. In the recycling workshop, electronic equipment and components from entertainment and office industries are professionally disassembled. This is done manually and requires no specialist knowledge and skills. The separated materials may be re-used and re-assembled for other purposes. The gardening and construction firm carries out private and public contracts in the fields of renovation, remodelling, painting, cleaning, moving, etc. in groups of two to eight people. Participants are guided and accompanied by professionals on the construction sites. No specialist knowledge is needed, however the jobs require strong physical condition. In addition, the programme offers part-time jobs in the public sector. Clients who apply for these jobs have to be realistic about their abilities and performance and show self-control with regard to their dependency. They are supported and accompanied by their managers.

The project aims at creating working opportunities. Clients are enabled to quickly find a workplace without facing administrative hurdles. Participants should be enabled to get back and enhance social competencies such as punctuality, endurance, co-operation in a group, self-reliance, etc. They should learn to realistically evaluate their work potential and social competencies. Although jobs are established in a protected work environment, they are adapted to those in the open labour market.

In the long-term, Job Tact aims at re-integrating participants into the open labour market. Realistically, and because of the rather huge social deficits of its participants, this is a far-reaching goal demanding intensive support and co-operation of all supporting staff.

In order to achieve a positive development in their lives, clients of this project need appropriate assistance. This assistance is linked to a two-step model that separates workers into two groups at the time of their job start: employment and low skill level work.

Results

The job offers of Contact Netz provide drug-dependents with a real-world frame of reference mainly through self-generating costs. Hence, the re-integration happens in a cost-effective and fast-paced way. Contact Netz generates more than 50% of its costs through their own economic activity. Job Tact Recycling in particular generates a lower income (subsidy vs. income ratio is about 5:1) and all its income is made through the recycling of computers.

All in all Contact Netz offers and innovative combination of social tasks and entrepreneurship, through 90 jobs tailored to drug-dependents, as well as a daily structure and bridge back to the free labour market for drug-dependents.

More information

Website: www.contactnetz.ch