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Changing Society, One Family At A Time

Norma and José Photo: World Vision

Norma and José
Photo: World Vision

Changing negative cultural stereotypes about men’s and women’s roles is at the heart of strengthening families in El Salvador. After attending a Channels of Hope-Gender workshop for pastors and their spouses, Pastor José Evelio Chavez of the Church of God in Sesori and his wife Norma enthusiastically described how the training helped them better understand God’s intention for couples to be equal partners, working alongside each other. Norma smiled a little when she said the training also helped José understand that God’s will for women does not restrict them to work only in the home.

But for José, the workshop had a much deeper impact. The discussions helped him realize that in a recent marital conflict, he had been wrong in how he treated his wife. In the middle of the workshop, he publicly apologized to Norma for his treatment. “I told the others, saying you’re sorry in public doesn’t make you less of a man,” said José.

After participating in the Channels of Hope-Gender workshop, Norma and José Evelio Chavez have found their relationship as a couple and with their children to be stronger and more loving. They recently held a family conference at their church for 80 families to share what they’ve learned about nurturing loving family relationships that demonstrate good examples for children.

Ana Vilma de Garcia (on the left) with Sandra Patricia Guzman Photo: World Vision

Ana Vilma de Garcia (on the left) with Sandra Patricia Guzman
Photo: World Vision

Another participant in the Channels of Hope workshop, Ana Vilma de Garcia, explains that Channels of Hope-Gender helped her and her husband, Pastor José Julian de Garcia of the Baptist church in Sesori, better understand how to treat and discipline their children with kindness, rather than using the harsh methods they grew up with. As a result, their children have become more respectful and willing to help around the house. Her husband also says that the training helped him realize that the Bible teaches that there is no superiority of men over women, but that his wife is his equal partner.

Participant Sandra Patricia Guzman spoke passionately about the value of the workshop in changing attitudes about the roles of men and women, and how important that is to help tame gender-based violence in Salvadoran society. “We can’t change society until we change the family,” she said. “And that has to come from the church.”

Channels of Hope is one of World Vision’s most effective approaches to partnering with local churches and faith-based organizations to change deeply held cultural beliefs, such as those about gender roles. This biblically based program promotes gender equality through understanding and applying Scripture responsibly to address underlying beliefs about the role and value of women.

This is our third of three stories we are sharing this week of transformation as a result of the Channels of Hope-Gender program.

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