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Life lessons in Alcalá-Meco

There are many lives within one single life. And each one of them holds a lesson to be learned. And the hope, the non-negotiable aspiration to always thrive for our better selves. Never will a life be defined by the walls that enclose it. Neither by the fleeting circumstances that determine our present time. Whatever they may be and no matter how invariable they may look. A tag will never tell the whole essence of any human being. Not his hopes, his longings, not the unreachable complexity of his nature.

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Behind the walls of the Penitentiary Centre Madrid II Alcalá-Meco we found an audience enthusiastic, vibrant and respectful like no other. Almost 200 inmates lodging in the so-called Respect Unit of the centre: open cells in a pattern of cohabitation based on rules as firm as is the will to respect them. Inclusion into this unit is not based on duration or severity of the sentences, but on each inmate’s day to day behaviour. Thus being a first opportunity for redemption, change and improvement. A chance for another life.
It was not easy to put forward exemplary words or lessons to be learned by an audience whose only disposition set a very high standard of dignity, willingness and desire for achievement. A true example of life WITHIN the circumstances; not against them; not out of them. Wasn’t easy but, precisely because of that, it was truely moving. Every message our conference passed through into the packed events hall of the centre, was replicated and amplified, improved and boosted by the audience, thanks firstly to their attitude for listening; and then, through their passionate interaction.

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We shall feel immensely proud if it was the case that our visit to Alcalá-meco left any lessons behind. But above all, this occasion gave us the opportunity to leave the place with a bag full with learnings. As it is the certainty that there are no walls as high as those imposed by tags. Nor a darker confinement than that built on prejudice. And so… after a most unforgettable morning, we left fully convinced that we shall fly
real high, together, to elevate ourselves over the many different walls built by our society.

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