Peacebuilding en Las Américas – November 2018

Facilitators Deprived of Liberty Flourish in Honduras

by Monica Maher, Initiative Coordinator 

Internal facilitators of El Porvenir Prison in La Ceiba have done an excellent job in preparing and promoting AVP. Due to their example of personal change, there are long lists of male residents, many former gang members, who would like to take the Advanced and the Trauma Healing workshops. Given the demand, Judith Aguilar, of the Honduran Mennonite Church, and three internal facilitators offered an Advanced Workshop on October 7, 9, 10 for 13 men living in prison.

Participants, Bucky and Alfredo, shared:

I feel grateful for this workshop; I did things that I never thought I would do, like asking for forgiveness and hugging another man. This workshop changed my life and now I have positive things to talk about with my fellows. – Bucky

I feel better after this second workshop. I feel that my self-esteem improved, and I feel like a little bird when they open its cage. It has made me reflect and I no longer am afraid to speak with my fellows. Since my self-esteem has improved, I feel liberated and motivated. – Alfredo

All received a surprise when a group of internal prison authorities arrived to the workshop site, under order of the prison director, in search of one of the internal facilitators, Santos Funez. They came to ask him to take a position at the top of the prison hierarchy. He responded, I cannot accept since my principles as an AVPer do not allow it. He was offered the post due to his good behavior and leadership as the prison Coordinator of AVP. Penitentiary officials at both the local and national levels have recognized AVP and now support it whole-heartedly.

First Workshop with Incarcerated Women in El Porvenir

Ondina Murillo, of the Honduran Mennonite Church, and four male internal facilitators offered the first AVP Basic Workshop on December 10-12 with women living in prison at El Porvenir. The women had heard that the men were changing with AVP, so they asked Santos Funez if he could bring them the workshops. Due to the good behavior of the AVP internal facilitators, prison authorities allowed them to leave their section of the prison and enter the women’s area.  Due to limitations of space, only 13 were able to participate. Male facilitators were very respectful of the women, all of whom want to take the Advanced in January. One woman asserted:

This workshop has helped me so now I can help other people. It is necessary to give these workshops to youth and children so they never come to these centers and there are fewer people here.

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