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Workshop Defense and Protection of Minors

13/02/2019: Guatemala

From January 29 to February 2, a Workshop “Defense and Protection of Minors” was held in Guatemala, being in charge Maria Paz Ábalos, analyst Junguina, Psychologist and supervisor; who traveled from Chile to share with us her experience and formation on this theme.

A group of 60 participants met in the Marist Center of Formation.  On this occasion the invitation went beyond the frontiers of the Province of Central America (Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Puerto Rico and Cuba) since there was the presence of Brothers and Laity  from Honduras, Ecuador, Central Mexico, Colombia and Argentina.  Everyone with the desire to learn on the theme of the Defense and Protection of Minors.  

These days of formation allowed the participants to:

  • Reflect on the promotion of the active defense and protection of children and young people as a central or essential part of the mission of our Institute.
  • Get close to the victims and situations of abuse to recognize the signs, facilitate the healing and compensation of the harm, and advance in the prevention of the ill-treatment and abuse.   
  • Be in an attitude and conceptually in tone with the calls of the Church and of the Institute for the active protection of minors.
  • Reflect on the forms and ways to improve, constantly, in the knowledge and application of the policy of the protection of minors.

To describe the lived experience, I quote the words of Br. Hipolito, Provincial of Central America, who when greeting said: “this workshop is very valuable, profound, intense and demanding, it is a very significant experience because it touches our own reality, the reality of the victims and of those who make the victims, -who abuse -, whom perhaps we know”.

María Paz was in Guatemala the first time in the year 2017 when she dealt with this theme with Brothers, Community Superiors.  Then in the year 2018 she worked with Brothers and Laity in directing posts and this year 2019, Brothers and Laity participated, who work in different leadership posts (rectors, administrators, councilors, pastoral agents, etc.).     

This sensitiveness permits creating a new conscience of working together on this theme, which demands justice, responsibility, defense and protection and, in this way,  be attentive and respond to the call of implementing Policies of Protection of Children, develop programs of qualification to avoid that the abuse of children takes place in our Institutions, in such a way that our works may be places where children feel secure.


Brenda Santos

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