Peacebuilding en Las Américas – December 30, 2018

The Beginning of a Dream:
Three Basic AVP Workshops in Apanteos Prison, El Salvador

by Salomón Medina, AVP El Salvador Coordinator 

When we have a dream, sometimes, we think that it is impossible to reach for several reasons.  Many of them have to do with the emotional or systemic issues.  The truth is that at the extraordinary things that occur are not the product of chance. Rather, they occur from our vision and our firm desires focused on serving and promoting good, justice, harmony and peace.

This has been the case with the first series of basic Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP) workshops held at the Preventive and Compliance Center of Apanteos in El Salvador:  The desire of incarcerated men to seek peace and resolve personal, familial, community and systemic country issues; the openness of those who gave us the contacts to enter; the good wishes and the good disposition of the authorities of the center and our desire to serve. All of these converged to make this dream possible. We are very happy!

We recognize that this is only the beginning, which makes us very pleased and happy, but there is much more to do. There are more incarcerated men to serve. This accompanies and contributes to the valuable processes of the prison authorities in the common search for men to be able to rejoin our Salvadoran Society, in a significant way with changes to each life, family, community, and faith community.

Being there and witnessing the enormous creativity of these brilliant minds, makes me emotional.  We can perceive the humanity of each person and see their desire to change, their longings for Freedom. We witness how their ideology of evil is gradually replaced by values ​​and principles that have to do with Transforming Power.

In total, there were 163 men in sector 11 with whom we met, shared, and now remember with a lot of love and joy.  All these men recognized that they can do their part to change and move forward in the midst of what they have lived. They will begin to reject all those behaviors that have not allowed them to live in Peace.

We are deeply grateful for all that happened. We are also eager to continue, to do our best to accompany these lives and continue to develop the processes of the programs. So that they are incorporated first into these and at some point, according to the criteria and dispositions of the legal authorities, can move forward in freedom and harmony with those around them.

We hope for the best in this process of each person. We hope that they can practice what we learned together: that they respect each other, that they respect and care for their neighbor, that they think before reacting, that they seek non-violent solutions in their environment. In summary, that they can practice Transforming Power with their families, inmates and center authorities!

We are in the last days of this year 2018, which is a time to reflect and also to make decisions that help us generate significant changes. As a Facilitator team, our hope for these 163 men who graduated from basic AVP workshops is that each of their decisions be taken with wisdom, in justice, peace and harmony with those around them. We had a great graduation celebration on December 15 has been an event of Hope in every way. Thank you very much to all those people who gave us their support and resources so that this dream could be started!