Project Practice Peace
Hello my name is Molly Brown and I am SALEM Ecuador’s fundraiser. I am here to share with you a very special project that we started in this month of December. We have named it Project Practice Peace because it embodies the very core value that we stand for at SALEM International: Practicing and Promoting Peace Around the World.
Project Practice Peace (say that 10 times fast ;)) is a concentrated effort and deliberate gathering of human resources and social services at SALEM Center in Mindo, Ecuador to attend to and counsel victims of physical, sexual and emotional abuse.
I spoke with Ana Monge, SALEM’s on site psychologist who is treating victims of violence in the Mindo community. She first came to Mindo as a tourist to enjoy the spectacular beauty of the surrounding cloud forest.
“When you first take a look at the Mindo community, it seems idyllic. All of the focus is on the natural wonders. However, there is a sector of the community that needs urgent assistance. There is a deep need to attend to the poverty, neglect and scarcity that creates and contributes to violence in the home.”
The victims that we attend to at SALEM are the most vulnerable members of our community – women, children and teens who don’t have the opportunities and resources to leave abusive environments. In these situations, mistreatment and neglect can become normalized. The balance of power and decision-making in the home is distorted. Family relationships are based more on survival than fulfilling personal or family needs.
“It’s important that this family dynamic is recognized,” Ana states. “There can be small changes that shift this dynamic to create a more stable and balanced atmosphere. At SALEM, the children and family members we counsel have the opportunity to recognize their feelings, acknowledge the existing problem and use the tools they have inside them to improve their situations.”
SALEM is a safe place to pick up new tools for dealing with violent and abusive environments. The educational, recreational and integrated services that we provide are the perfect complement to therapy. Ana gave me an example of how the holistic way of treating victims plays out:
Ana counsels a teen girl at the Center who is a victim of physical abuse. One day the girl was participating in a regularly scheduled SALEM activity for teens. She had a panic attack during the group activity. Since Ana’s office is at the SALEM Center, she was able to walk over and attend to the girl at that very moment. She and the girl walked to Ana’s office and Ana showed her some ways to deal with the attack. The girl was later able to rejoin the group and continue with the planned activities.
The counseling services are just one part of Project Practice Peace. We provide advocacy services for the long and often confusing legal process that accompanies reports of abuse to the authorities. SALEM Center runs a shelter for battered women and their children which often includes education and training for becoming economically independent. There is so much to do and we have such a competent staff – the only limiting factor is funding.
We think it is absolutely necessary to continue this program indefinitely. The positive impacts that these services can have on the community are endless. We are looking for individual and corporate donors to sponsor the monthly costs that SALEM takes on to provide these much needed services.
$80 monthly donation covers one child’s weekly therapy sessions.
$100 monthly donation covers counseling services for that child’s mother and father – working to break the cycle of abuse.
A one time large donation allow SALEM Center to extend and create specialized spaces dedicated to counseling services and advocacy work.
If you would like more information, or to speak directly with me or Jonas, SALEM’s Director, please feel free to contact us at: email@example.com o firstname.lastname@example.org.
We would be happy to answer any questions or give you more information about the project.
Wishing you all a healthy, merry and peaceful holiday season,