«And all the new furniture, of the 5,150 schools, will be built by the prisoners who want to repair some of the damage they did to our country», this has been the phrase of President Nayib Bukele, this Friday, when confirming that the inmates in the trust phase, are already working on the manufacture of desks for the network of public schools nationwide.
According to the president, who announced an educational reform on Wednesday, «this will be the largest investment in education in our history,» since it will include renovation of schools, teacher training, and technological support.
«Thousands of children, young people, and adolescents will be able to enjoy these benefits. We are doing this articulated, inter-institutional work with the Ministry of Education. We are holding several meetings where we want to make all the desks that the entire educational system needs at the national level. », said the director of Penal Centers, Osiris Luna.
Luna added that «the president has instructed us that the children not only have decent schools but also have furniture where they can have a better learning experience, and today that the president has given computers and tablets to the children, to the new design of desks, a shelf has been incorporated where they can place the computer and it will not be damaged».
For those deprived of liberty who participate in this project, making desks for thousands of students has become a way of thanking and showing society the change they have had while in prison.
«It takes us half an hour to make a desk. We do the entire manufacturing process, from welding, shaping, painting, carpentry, to the rivets to assemble all the pieces. Our ultimate goal is to help the educational system in El Salvador,» said Gabriel Sánchez, in charge of the metal-mechanical area at the La Esperanza prison.
Luna emphasized that now, with control and order in prisons, inmates are allowed to carry out this type of activity to improve the educational future of children, youth, and adolescents in the country.
«We are going down that path. We are going to get there one day to reestablish all the desks at the national level, and we are improving some schools with some groups of prisoners. We want this to be part of the solution. Before, the penitentiary centers were only seen as human warehouses, but we can see that inside there is order and discipline to achieve the rehabilitation and reinsertion of the inmates,» assured the director.
ART AND CARPENTRY FOR REINSERTION
More than a hundred inmates do not belong to gangs, and in the process of rehabilitation, they participate daily in different workshops and programs where they increase their skills while serving their sentences. The workshops are given by penal centers as part of the Zero Leisure Plan, and among these, the authorities highlight those in painting, carpentry, and baking.
«Through art, inmates who are not gang members and are in the process of rehabilitation are changing their lives in the prison system workshops. One of them is painting. Here those deprived of liberty prepare for their reunion with society,» Luna posted on his Twitter account.
The official explained that, in this workshop, those serving their sentence learn different painting techniques such as graphite, oil painting, acrylic painting, among others.
«In this way, prisoners who are being rehabilitated and plan to dedicate themselves to painting when they serve their sentences, have already begun to trace their future from inside the prisons. This is Zero Leisure Plan,» Director Luna said.
He added that another of the workshops that strengthen the training of those deprived of liberty is carpentry.
«The carpentry workshop is part of the productive areas where prisoners in the process of rehabilitation work to increase their knowledge. They learn the whole process of creating beautiful works: toys, handicrafts, furniture, and much more, «explained the official.
The Zero Leisure Plan allows prisoners in the trust phase to participate in projects that benefit the population, including the maintenance and remodeling of PNC schools, hospitals, and infrastructure.