ESPERE trains families to manage conflict with compassion and understanding, helps individuals overcome past emotional trauma, and leads to healthy, violent-free relationships.
ESPERE, the School of Forgiveness and Reconciliacition (Escuela de Perdón y Reconciliación), is a workshop that helps people develop proactive strategies to address and overcome conflict and learn the power of forgiveness. ESPERE was developed in Colombia in 2002, and is now being implemented in over 15 countires. This program was developed to address the connection between past experiences of aggression and the current use of violence in the face of stress.
ESPERE helps people resolve conflict to reduce the chance of escalation, manage anger and its impact on everyday encounters, and learn how the traditional cycle of anger and revenge differs from nontraditional forms of justice that truly restore healthy relationships.
Based on a teaching methodology called Popular Education, ESPERE helps people to recognize the link between unprocessed trauma and the use of violence to manage daily frustrations and conflicts and fosters a space for open dialogue.
All of our Adult Education students take the six-week ESPERE workshop to foster personal growth and create trusting relationships with their classmates and teachers. Many of our students have endured a great deal of trauma in their lives and experience incredible personal transformation through ESPERE.
The workshop takes students through a step-by-step process that begins with understanding how their own behavior increases or decreases violence, helps them identify and forgive past emotional pain, teaches methods of reconciliation that lead to healthy relationships, and helps students live compassionate lives.
The workshop provides:
- An open space for dialogue regarding past experiences
- Reflection on anger and its impact on everyday interactions and our health
- Guidance toward compassionate and peaceful restoration of healthy relationships
- Guidance toward compassionate and peaceful separation of unhealthy relationships
- New awareness of how wrongdoers are treated by the system, by their victims, and by other individuals,
- A discussion of how restorative justice can help break cycles of anger and violence