“Light Behind Bars”: News Documentary Shows Power of Peace Education in Portuguese Prison

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The Prem Rawat Foundation shares “Light Behind Bars,” an independent short film that chronicles the transformation of incarcerated women in Tires, Portugal as they participate in the Peace Education Program and try to come to terms with the devastation of their past actions.

The Peace Education Program is having a profound impact on inmates at Tires Prison and other correctional facilities around the world.

Maybe it’s the idea that each human being is special, unique, unrepeatable that attracts so many people worldwide. Perhaps it is the disarming simplicity of the message. In Tires Prison, it is making a difference.

Ana Valencia, 37 years old, was arrested at the Lisbon airport trying to smuggle 5 kilos of cocaine into Portugal from her native Colombia. Not far away, Manuela Barreiros, 36 years old, was also arrested for drug trafficking. Both mothers, they soon faced devastating consequences: years in prison away from their children, their family and everything they love.

Along with hundreds of other nonviolent offenders, they found themselves behind bars at Tires Prison, haunted by regrets and paralyzed by sorrow.

And like hundreds of other inmates at Tires Prison and other correctional facilities around the world, they found solace during Peace Education Program (PEP) workshops, where they learned how to tap into their own innate abilities to feel inner strength, dignity and hope.

Their incredible transformation earned the attention of producers at Rádio e Televisão de Portugal (RTP), the public service broadcasting organization of Portugal. The outlet created “Light Behind Bars” to chronicle the experience of Ana, Manuela and other women locked up at Tires as they participated in PEP and gained the skills and perspectives they needed to build better lives.

Also featured prominently in the short documentary is a visit by Prem Rawat, Founder of The Prem Rawat Foundation, who offers a moving address to the women, inspiring them along their individual paths towards inner peace.

Directed by noted journalist and author Marques Fernandes, shot by cinematographers Felipe Martins and Carla Quirino and accompanied by an evocative score, the result is a poignant testament to the power of hope.

RTP originally broadcast the documentary to television affiliates across Portugal. With permission of RTP, The Prem Rawat Foundation is now making it available online for the first time with English subtitles.


About The Prem Rawat Foundation (TPRF) and the Peace Education Program (PEP):

TPRF is dedicated to helping build a world at peace, one person at a time. To fulfill its mission of addressing fundamental human needs of food, water and peace, TPRF has developed programs such as Food for People, which serves hundreds of thousands of nutritious meals to impoverished children each year and the Peace Education Program. The innovative multimedia PEP course has been presented in 73 countries at a large variety of organizations and community groups, including colleges, youth programs, adult education programs, hospice centers, retiree centers, prisons and rehabilitation programs. PEPs are active in North America, the U.K., Europe, Latin America, Africa, Australia and India. Launched in July, 2012 in Brisbane, Australia, PEP has expanded to every continent.

Since its founding in 2001, TPRF has also supported numerous emergency relief efforts, providing more than 158 grants to aid people in 40 countries.

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Rita Hollingsworth
The Prem Rawat Foundation TPRF
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