Peacebuilding en Las Américas – April 2019

Schools for Peace in Amatitlan, Guatemala

by Lorena Escobar, AVP Guatemala Coordinator

As part of the promotion of Peace Schools, Lorena co-facilitated an AVP Basic Workshop on February 19-20 for 32 students, ages 12-17, and 5 teachers in El Pedregal, Amatitlán, an area plagued by gang violence.

This year we started with the Institute in the Pedregal Amatitlan, an establishment with a population of young people with limited resources. Many are exposed to domestic violence, conflicts at school, and the recruitment into criminal gangs because the school is located in what is classified as Red Zone, or a dangerous and violent area, home to gangs.

I was asked by the director of school to facilitate an AVP Basic workshop to strengthen the violence prevention program and give tools for conflict resolution so that the young people can develop in a peaceful environment.

The students were very excited and learned many tools from the workshop. Here are some testimonials from young people:

“For me, the conversations we had at the workshop helped us get to know each other as people. It made me think about what I understand and know of my classmates because sometimes they are as they are because of what they have been through in their difficult home life. Now I think that it is important to be respectful and patient and always able to understand. “

“Learning to share and discover that we have so much in common, differences were erased, and I notably saw the union and enthusiasm. Living this experience left me values that will implement, and share with others so that they can also know the power that transforms!”

A teacher at the AVP workshop commented: “We are very grateful because people who don’t even know us, have come all this way and shown us love through the AVP workshops, food, and materials. Thank you for those who without knowing it have donated to this workshop, so full of purpose and importance could be a reality in our school.”