Testimonies from the First Advanced AVP Workshop in Apanteos Prison, El Salvador


An article by Antonio Salomón Medina Fuentes, National Coordinator of AVP El Salvador for Friends Peace Teams

All people should have the opportunity to be able to change and redeem themselves. Often, it is considered too late, especially when someone is completing some type of punishment because there are stigmas. Many people have prejudice and contempt for people who are in a prison.

Going back and realizing that there have been some interesting and significant changes in the lives of the incarcerated men is very rewarding. It motivates us to continue in everything we do to contribute and strengthen a Culture of Peace and Non- violence in vulnerable sectors, especially in places often excluded and sometimes even forgotten, like the jails of our country.

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The theme that we defined with this group was: A dialogue based on the Non-violence in human relations

It was an excellent and challenging topic! It allowed us the possibility of finding answers to some of the needs that the inmates of this penitentiary center currently have, which is evidenced by some of the testimonies that we share below:

“Well, what I learned from this workshop is to use dialogue to be able to resolve a conflict without violence. What I want to put into practice is to continue changing my attitude. The AVP program is an excellent program to continue transforming lives through Him. My testimony is that through AVP, I have been able to understand that one should respond before acting, that is, a conflict can be resolved without violence. I will think in the positive and discard the negative.”

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Question for this article:

Where is peace education taking place?

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“I learned to work on a team, about companionship, and to respect small and big people. I liked the games because it’s fun and I forget everything that hurts me psychologically. I would like to have more time to learn more. For me, this workshop is excellent because it has helped me to put my values ​​into practice and it has also helped me to solve problems in the best way.”

“It is totally and without any doubt an experience to live life fully well. To live without malice, remembering the good that I can give to others without expecting anything in return. I learned to always expect the best from others and always give the best of me. God bless the fantastic 4!”

“The truth is that this workshop has taught us many values ​​to be able to face any conflict or problem that we find ourselves, to always be positive. What I liked is that it taught us to respect everyone and to act wisely so as not to make mistakes. I would love to teach the other incarcerated men. For me, the workshop has been a great learning opportunity.While cultivating my values, ​​I have managed to learn that in any problem or situation, we always have or could use dialogue to solve all conflicts. Thanks for bringing the program here in the prison and sector!”

“One of the things I learned and will put into practice is to solve any problem through dialogue and not with violence, to think before acting to be able to do good to others in the future. My testimony is that thanks to the AVP workshop I have been able to relate more with my colleagues and to respect them and be able to help others without expecting something in return.”

“I learned to respect my fellow inmates, not to disrespect any security guards, to seek dialogue to avoid violence, and to listen to colleagues. I am grateful to the 4 facilitators for taking us into account. I thank God for bringing AVP to the penal centers. Actually when I found myself with no exit, without encouragement in this sector, God opened the doors to 4 excellent teachers, for which there were values ​​that we had forgotten. I learned how to recover the forgotten by thinking before acting, because everyone has the right not to be attacked. AVP has taught me to love my neighbor.”

“I learned to think before acting and to know how to value my friendships and empathize in order to give good advice to my friends. I liked the whispered affirmations because I remembered what my parents advised me. It has helped me to recover my lost values ​​and to remember again the advice that my parents gave me when I was little. It has allowed me to be able to control my emotions. I am grateful to the AVP workshops since they have come and dedicated their time to help me live my life as before.”

Once again as a facilitator team, we are very grateful for this valuable opportunity to serve the inmates considered emotionally unstable, with whom we had the enormous privilege of sharing their lives and experiences of how AVP has helped them and will continue to help them in the midst of of everything they live.