MONTEVIDEO – Three Uruguayan companies signed on Wednesday their commitment to participate in the “Yoga and Values in Jails” program aimed at guaranteeing the rehabilitation of former convicts by providing them with jobs.
The initiative was laid out during a breakfast forum organized by Uruguay’s Official Spanish Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Navigation.
“We presented the project to the Chamber last year,” Pamela Martinez, the head of the program and a yoga instructor, told EFE. “We’ve been raising awareness among companies and today we’re signing three of the ones with whom we’ve been working.”
The new project participants include La Corte restaurant owner Tomas Bartesaghi, Young Entrepreneurs’ Association president Pablo Buela and Gladys T, a fashion and design business owner, said Martinez, adding that 10 more firms are expected to join the project by May.
Uruguayan Labor and Social Security Minister Ernesto Murro told reporters that there has been a significant increase in the number of inmates both working and taking classes while serving their sentences.
Murro, who was a political prisoner in the 1970s, said that out of the country’s nearly 10,000 inmates “almost 4,800 people (are) working inside the jails,” while another 1,000 have received job training over the past two years.
The event was also attended by Spain’s ambassador to Uruguay, Javier Sangro de Liniers, who encouraged Spanish companies operating in the South American country to take part in the initiative.