This September saw the end of the second cycle of workshops on human development in the context of confinement, which has been given by a team of humanists in the prisons of the province of Buenos Aires.
During the last 6 months, 14 online sessions have been held, in which around 3,000 people deprived of liberty have participated. In these workshops, through internal practices, topics such as reconciliation with others and with oneself, overcoming resentment, recognition of injustices, identification of failures or possibilities for the future have been worked on. As we know, these are important issues that need to be studied and understood in order to move forward without fear and overcome internal violence and suffering.
We have also worked on tools such as guided experiences, the request or the experience of peace, techniques that help us to relax the body, calm the mind and quiet the heart and allow us to enter into our inner world.
The initiative has been facilitated by the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights of the Government of the Province of Buenos Aires through the Director of Sport and Culture, Claudia Rodriguez. This is a pioneering project, an example of how to contribute with a new approach to improve the situation of people deprived of liberty, in their future projection and ultimately in overcoming social and personal violence, as well as in the possibility of igniting a spark of hope in the prison population.
Attendance at the workshops has been very high, more than 3,000 people in some sessions, and the participants have interacted very actively in all the meetings. The testimonies of the participants confirm how for them these workshops have been an important support in their daily life in prison. Some of them describe how hostility, aggressiveness and anger have decreased in the different prison communities and how empathy and the desire to improve the ambit and the relations between them have increased.
The participants performed music and songs and shared poems, meditations, reflections, drawings and testimonies such as the following:
“I tell you, with joy, that through the guided experiences I managed to heal my sorrows and leave my agonies behind. I connected with beautiful people with whom we were united by the desire not to waste our days. Together we were all on a path to a better life.
“When the workshop started, we didn’t imagine where it would lead us, it has led us to put our expectations on ourselves. Yesterday doesn’t matter, what matters is what we can achieve from here on, learning from our mistakes, evolving as people, upward our consciousness. We can say that our mental fences will never lock us in again”.
“I like to listen to her. I learned and learn every second of my life and on my way, I always meet nice people who walk with me. I have no doubt that we can build something much better than this, we deserve it simply as living beings that inhabit this beautiful planet”.
For the team organising the workshops it has also been a very emotional and enriching experience. To be able to listen to the testimonies of so many people, to share their reflections, to help ignite the inner fire, to open the hope of a bright future full of possibilities is an attempt worth living.