With the help of an EU-guaranteed loan, Immacolata founded the Lazarelle cooperative in Pozzuoli, Napoli, in southern Italy. The idea was to create a coffee roaster inside the jail premises, valorising local tradition and fostering social inclusion in parallel.
About the project
Location: Napoli, Campania, Italy
Financial Intermediary: Banca Etica
SME: Neapolide Cooperativa Sociale
Sector: social enterprise
Number of employees: 10
Job creation: 9
Financing purpose: purchasing equipment
EU financing: EaSI Guarantee Financial Instrument (Social Entrepreneurship)
“I wanted to bring together two vulnerable realities: women in jail and small coffee producers from the south - to valorise local tradition and foster social inclusion at the same time” says Immacolata Carpiniello, Manager of Neapolide Cooperativa Sociale, a spin-off of Lazarelle cooperative.
Back in 2010, Immacolata founded the Lazarelle cooperative in Pozzuoli, Napoli, in southern Italy. The idea was to create a coffee roaster inside the jail premises and run the whole production line from there: processing the raw material, blending the coffee and packaging it for sale.
But the main point is the impact that this project can have on the lives of detainees: “Typically, female prisoners only have access to activities such as sowing, reading and decoupage,” explains Immacolata, “With us, they’re acquiring skills, learning a profession and improving their employability. They learn about responsibility, discipline, deadlines, and build confidence. This will help them reintegrate into society and the workforce when they get out of jail.
Most detainees found themselves in jail simply because they needed money. So we try to help them to be self-sustainable and support their families when they are out,“ she adds, “and ex-convicts also become mentors – at work and in life.”
Both the name - Lazzarelle, meaning ‘rascals’ in Neapolitan dialect - as well as the branding, were chosen by the inmates themselves.
“We usually have 3-5 detainees working alongside 3 full-time staff members. It’s the first step in re-integration into society. Over the past 7 years, we’ve had 62 female detainees go through the project. I remember each and every one of them” says Immacolata.
The project has a strong sustainability dimension also on the environmental front, using recyclable plastic for packaging, avoiding capsules which have a heavy environmental impact, and recycling coffee waste to make fertiliser.
With the cooperative doing well, Immacolata wanted to add an external point of sale for the coffee, and she won a tender to set up a coffee point in a historical gallery between the National Archaeological Museum and the Academy of Fine Art.
With the help of an EU-guaranteed loan from Banca Etica, Immacolata managed to set up the coffee bar, renovate the space and purchase the necessary machinery and furniture. The new bistro that opened in September 2018, will create jobs for 6 detainees and 3 more persons.
“Coffee is a big part of Italian culture,” Immacolata concludes, “It brings people together in cafés, living rooms, dinner tables, offices... Now, female prisoners can be part of the society as well. They don’t feel invisible anymore.”