Young expansionists sew face masks in Guatemala to face viruses

Guatemalans deprived of liberty make more than a thousand masks that will be delivered to government authorities in order to confront Covid-19

Guatemalans deprived of liberty make more than a thousand masks that will be delivered to government authorities in order to confront Covid-19. The roughness of his tattoos contrasts with Jason's subtlety using the sewing machine, with which he and other young prisoners in Guatemala make masks to face the new coronavirus.
Young expansionists sew face masks in Guatemala to face viruses 
Guatemala City. - The roughness of his tattoos contrasts with Jason's subtlety using the sewing machine, with which he and other young prisoners in Guatemala make masks to face the new coronavirus.
The shaven-headed boy until a few days ago could not use the sewing tool and now gives the final stitches to the masks that will be delivered to government officials who are attending the Covid-19 pandemic, AFP reported.
"If I ever did harm to Guatemala, now I would like to correct my mistakes" supporting the emergency, says Jason in the small workshop set up in a room at the Juvenile Deprivation Center for Men II, in the south of Ciudad de Guatemala.

The center protects more than a hundred teenagers, including gang members accused of murder, extortion, arms and drug trafficking.

Guatemalan correctional facilities have traditionally been the scene of violent riots that have left dead and wounded between inmates and guards, sometimes due to rivalry between gangs or nonconformity due to restrictions.
But those scenes are far from the current work of Jason and his penmates, who come and go, some cutting materials and others concentrated in the sewing machines before the guards' eyes, known as "monitors".
The goal is to finish 5,000 masks in two weeks, for which it is expected to include the other four correctional centers in charge of the state Presidential Secretariat of Social Welfare (SBS).
Francisco Molina, head of the SBS, explains that the idea came about due to the growing demand for masks due to the coronavirus pandemic, which in Guatemala totals 36 cases, including one death.
"If in the past [the boys] could have been wrong or could have done some type of damage, today those hands are generating life. These masks in this crisis represent life and that is what these young people are giving Guatemala today", said Molina.

The Army factory that advises about twenty young prisoners who participate voluntarily joined the project.
Military doctors also certified the materials so that the masks are functional to prevent contagion.

Lend a hand for Coronavirus

"If we can give a hand it is to do it," adds another of the teenagers who identified himself as Josué, in this small textile factory with white walls and light blue stripes.
Dressed in a white T-shirt, Josué points out that he is concerned about his family due to the spread of the virus and advises the rest of the population to comply with the partial curfew ordered by President Alejandro Giammattei to contain the pandemic.
Guatemala imposed a curfew at 04:00 pm and 04:00 am for this week, and has closed airports and borders to foreigners. It also banned the circulation of public transport and suspended classes in schools, colleges and universities.
"We are doing all this for a cause: to stop transmitting the virus," says Bryan, sitting in front of a sewing machine, who, like the rest of his colleagues, is protected with masks.
The masks will also carry messages of encouragement that will be stamped on a silkscreen that works in the center, part of the inmate reintegration program.
"Apart from that I am contributing to Guatemala, I am helping myself to get ahead and not think about illegal things," says Jason, who after leaving the correctional facility in a year hopes to start a textile business with the knowledge acquired in sewing machines .


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