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 weekly 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 relationship
- New awareness of how society and the justice system treat wrongdoers or those who’ve erred
- A discussion of how restorative justice can help break cycles of anger and violence
Thank you to the Sisters of the Holy Names (SNJMs)
Not only did the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus & Mary play a vital role in the foundation and growth of Adelante Mujeres, but they also played an important part in bringing ESPERE to Adelante Mujeres. The Sisters paid for the initial staff training by covering travel expenses for the trainers from Brazil to join us in Oregon.
The SNJMs have funded numerous grants, allowing us to give crucial emotional support to Latina women in our Adult Education classes as well as to the larger community. The SNJMs also funded an English translation of the ESPERE Workshop, making it possible for us to share these important strategies with an even wider population.
Sister Barbara Raymond, SNJM, has been an outstanding advocate for this partnership, and the SNJMs currently fund the program management staff position.
The SNJMs continue to offer essential support to our ESPERE program, creating life changing outcomes for the participants in our program and beyond.