The International Association for Human Values (IAHV) has been running a unique programme in Dubai called Prison Stress Management and Rehabilitation Training (Prison SMART), supported by the Dubai government's Community Development Authority (CDA).
Hundreds of inmates in Dubai have found peace and optimism to rehabilitate by attending sessions of SMART healing, such as yoga, pranayama, and other stress relieving techniques.
Rajeev R. Veedu, an instructor at the IAHV, told Khaleej Times: “We undertake a week-long programme in the prison where we teach batches of 40-50 inmates breathing exercises, meditation, and yoga asanas. The two-and-a-half-hour sessions are hosted by two IAHV teachers, along with a couple of volunteers, CDA officials as well as under the supervision of police supervisors. We use a three-pronged approach for the inmates, which helps them release their trauma through breathing exercises as our emotions are connected to our breath. We then teach them meditation and yoga for physical and mental well-being.”
Sausan Mahmood, a specialist social worker at the CDA, told Khaleej Times that they have been receiving good feedback from the prisoners, which brings them back for more sessions.
In the next year, the IAHV hopes to train at least 1,000 inmates in Dubai to join the other 700,000 prison inmates who benefited from the program in 60 different countries.