Peacebuilding en Las Américas 

AVP in Our Hearts: Workshop with Co-Madres, El Salvador

Testimonies and review of the basic AVP workshop with Co-Madres in San Rafael Cedros, Cuscatlán, El Salvador, held on August 16 and 17, 2019

by Antonio Salomón Medina Fuentes, National Coordinator of AVP El Salvador Para leer en español

The Committee of Mothers and Relatives of Persons Disappeared during the Armed Conflict Oscar Arnulfo Romero (CoMadres) is a group of survivors of the civil war in El Salvador, who have already seen at least two or more generations born to date.

In San Rafael Cedros, Cuscatlán there is a considerable group of CoMadres who essentially dedicates themselves to domestic work, agriculture and informal commerce. Additionally, a good part of the participants of this group have low schooling and some do not know how to read and write. They live in a environment that tends to be semi-rural and at some point affected by the current violence of the different criminal groups.

In this context, we had the joy of conducting a basic Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP)  workshop! Here are some of the testimonials that the participants shared with us:

I learned to solve problems, know how to deal with them and find a non-violent solution. I want to put into practice the responsible messages and values ​​presented in this workshop. This workshop is something I did not expect and I liked to see adults and children learning, which in my case, distracted me from personal situations. Thanks to the facilitators!

I learned about living together and that we all look at each other with equality and know how to distinguish when we are in green, yellow or red. That is what I practice in my home and family.  I liked the Transforming Power because I learned that the way we behave and our way of being will help us shape a better future. [The workshop was] very good because they covered topics that we are able to use in the family and in organized groups and elsewhere as associations, I am happy for this time together and I congratulate you for the organization, many blessings!

I learned to know how to listen to others, forgiveness, understanding, and coexistence. I liked the participation of the whole group. I had the opportunity to meet new people.

I learned the techniques of the traffic light, the responsible message, and the exercise and drawing an ideal community. I liked the group activities, the techniques and the dynamics to apply them with the groups that I work with daily and with my family. The methodology is very good because it allows citizen participation and collective reflection. I celebrate the opportunity to participate in these spaces because I feel comfortable with living together. Learning is like getting out of the routine, being with other people, learning new experiences. The subject Transformative Power hit me because it raises other ways to avoid violence. Congratulations and thanks to the facilitators !  blessings.

I learned that transformation means respecting and caring for others and putting it into practice with neighbors, friends, children and grandchildren. I liked the dynamics and that they explained things well. I also liked the role plays and learning exercises that I did not know before like the red, yellow, green traffic lights. It is to learn a change, love and transformation of rights and equality, and understanding. I thank God and the facilitators.

As a Facilitating Team we feel very happy, privileged and grateful to have shared with this group, who are very wise people, full of love, simplicity, faith and hope. They are very hardworking and know their basic human rights. They are trying to live in such a way that they can find the peace that we need so much at this moment in the history of our country and world.