PLA began its program in Honduras in 2010 through a partnership with the San Pedro Sula-based women’s empowerment cooperative, Mercy Dream Weavers (Misericordia Tejedoras de Sueños). On average, the Honduras program offers 15-20 Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP) workshops annually.
“AVP arrived in Honduras at a crucial time in the context of the government coup in 2009,” said Nelly DelCid, a Honduran AVP Facilitator fundamental in the expansion of the program into Honduras. “It was a very confusing and repressive time. Val and AVP have been a precious gift for the process of building a society from the values and spirituality of nonviolence.”
Mercy Dream Weavers facilitates workshops primarily with women and youth in and around the industrial city of San Pedro Sula. Currently, Dream Weavers works with female volunteers in impoverished pre-schools through Mothers Teachers (Madres Maestras), inmates at the El Porvenir Prison in El Progreso, and high school youth at the Centro Basico Froylan Turcios in Colonia Municipal.
“AVP empowers women…They learn how to value themselves and feel more secure and confident in themselves…They learn that they have rights. They learn that to be nonviolent does not mean to be submissive, it does not mean to be oppressed. On the contrary, to be nonviolent also demands that the rights of women are important….” asserts Aida Gonzales, Director of Mercy Dream Weavers and AVP facilitator.
In 2012, facilitators gave workshops to women from the Tolupan Tribe in defense of their territory against illegal mining on their land in Locomapa, Yoro. Additionally, facilitators began a program with Free Butterflies (Mariposas Libres), an organization of Garifuna women from five different Afro-Honduran communities in Tela, Atlántida, who are struggling with issues of domestic violence, rampant alcoholism and illegal tourist development of their beaches.
In 2014, PLA spread north to the coastal city of La Ceiba, where a team of 10 active facilitators work with youth and teachers in schools and churches as well as inmates in the La Granja Penal Prison. To date, AVP facilitators have given workshops to over 100 male inmates in the National Prison La Granja Penal and has trained three inmates to facilitate workshops within the prison.
“AVP changed my life. It made me learn about things in my life that I was doing and things I was doing badly. AVP also helped me heal myself internally. It is beneficiary for all of the people who have an ego inside. The internal ego is me, me, me. I can do everything. When one has this, they trick themselves. One sees from a different point of view. And now, thanks to God, I am seeing from another point of view.” -Luis Leal, participant at La Granja Penal Prison