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La Cooperativa Lazzarelle


The Cooperative Lazzarelle is a social enterprise that, using the approach of diversity management engages as members and workers women in prisons for entrepreneurial activities. Now it is involved in coffee production within the female prison of Pozzuoli (NA - IT). It was born in 2010, by the belief that prisons should not be a dark and forgotten place. We trust that it is always possible, even under the most difficult conditions, that women are the protagonists of their changing.

The Cooperative Lazzarelle promotes the creation of innovative approach to entrepreneurship and self-employment of women, to respond to two different types of problems.

First, groped to solve the serious problem of unemployed and underemployed women; secondly, encouraging the raising of social enterprises able to offer and deliver innovative services to the territory.

The perspective and orientation of the cooperative idea is mainly to have a greater focus on the reality of imprisonment, in the direction of social change: accompaniment to (re)entering the labor market, promoting new forms, such as business creation and self-employment, attempting to prevent or halt the processes and conditions that generate forms of poverty.

The project was born like a collect of actions, methods, interventions and services to support disadvantaged women in training programs; the main objective is to facilitate the employment the women prisoners.

When we decided to create a cooperative made up of female prisoners we wanted to achieve three main goals:

  1. create a concrete work occasion for women

  2. promote a sustainable and fair local development

  3. arrange new social business ideas

First Meeting in Groningen (5-7 November 2012)

Eight countries are involved the VIP project: Romania, Italy, Turkey, the Netherlands, Spain, Poland, Austria and France. First meeting is organised by Noorderpoort. Topics have been the following: 

  • presentation of each organisation and expectations with the VIP project,
  • SWOT analysis of training practices with prisoners,
  • preparation of national reports about prisons,
  • presentation of web site and discussion about dissemination tools and strategies,
  • planning of evaluation.

A day took place in Veenhuizen. First, partners have been welcomed to the prison museum by Mr. Sipko Biemolt for a presentation of prisons in the Netherlands and more specifically the closed centres for teenagers.

The teenagers who are placed in these centres have committed more or less serious offences since the time of "imprisonment" varies from one day to seven years. In Netherlands theay are around 1000 inmates. They are aged between 12 and 19-21 and usually belong to disadvantaged groups. They are often addicted or may suffer from intellectual disability or even autism. The population of young immigrants is not higher than the population of Dutch youth. When they leave the centre, 60% of the inmates fall back.

The education system in these structures is presented. It is compulsory to participate to a school program. Depending on his level, the young will either be directed towards the preparation of a general diploma validated by Noorderpoort or to the vocational route to learning a practical job through the various workshops available in the centre. They can choose the course. They are allowed to make pratice periods in companies. There is a close cooperation with the industry sector to facilitate the objective of getting a job when leaving the center.

In the afternoon, accompanied by two social workers, partners visit the detention centre for teenagers. It can welcome of sixty-two young people. The tour begins with the cells (for one occupant), the isolated confinement cells and the living areas (kitchen, dining room). It ends with the teaching facilities: library, gym, technical platforms (carpentry, metalwork, cooking, making pallets for business) and the classrooms equipped with computers.

Available for downloading:

Dutch prime minister opens clothing store managed by young offenders

Prime Minister Mark Rutte opened Saturday, March 2nd, Harbour Kidz, a new children's clothing store in the Reitdiep district in Groningen where Wilster part of the youth correctional “Poortje” is located.

During the opening Mark Rutte spoke about the expectation that small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) is soon on the rise again and about the cooperation between Poortje en the children’s clothing store.

Cooperation Wilster and SME

Five young people from Wilster took care of the catering during the opening event of the children's clothing company Kidz Harbour. On a structural basis Harbour Kidz is willing to offer work experience for the youngsters of Wilster as a part of their education they follow at Portalis, the internal school of “Poortje”.

Work experience places and selling homemade items

The young people can work in the shop and in the summer they can gain experience in the catering when the store opens its terrace. Items made ​​by young people themselves, for instance artwork, are also sold in the shop.

The integration of Poortje with the district

Besides Harbour Kidz Poortje also works together with the harbor office and the environmental department of the Municipality of Groningen. Together with young people from Wilster these parties form the “Port Team” of the Reitdiep district. The “Port Team” maintains the Reitdiep Port by removing litter and by cleaning the scaffolding.

“Poortje” appreciates the cooperation with Harbour Kidz and the municipality of Groningen very much. They are proud of it. Both are examples of cooperation in the field of employment support and integration into the Reitdiep district. 

Minke Kloppenburg


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