AVP El Salvador, in its eleventh year, runs workshops in 12 municipalities with over 17 organizations and churches. Facilitators focus work with at-risk youth in gang-dominated communities, war survivors, and people living with disabilities.
“The civil war in El Salvador left profound trauma in people who directly lived the repression, unimaginable tortures, disappearance of people and all of the collateral damage. Sadly, these people were not considered in the Peace Accords,” stated AVP Country Coordinator, Salomon Medina.
Since 2013, Salvadoran facilitators have worked with Co-Madres, an organization of over 400 mothers and relatives of the disappeared and assassinated. Co-Madres has maintained a consistent voice of nonviolent resistance and truth seeking in El Salvador since 1980. Most Co-Madres members are part of a larger population that lacks access to basic health, education and other human rights.
One participant said, “The first workshop gave us models for our transformation and the second has deepened our work with others and has given us confidence.” The women reported that they now have the confidence to participate in community meetings, not ceding all the decisions to others.
AVP El Salvador began workshops with people living with disabilities in 2016 with the aim of creating a core group of facilitators to work with others with similar conditions. AVP offered participants tools to face widespread discrimination and patterns of abuse both within the family and by a system that has marginalized them and considered them expendable. Many persons living with disabilities have complex personal, familial and community problems. They now challenge themselves to see life with greater happiness and optimism despite its vicissitudes, said Medina.