Maria, 13 years old,
a resident of the Fortaleza suburbs

Maria lives in the suburbs of Fortaleza. When she broke up with her boyfriend, he began to threaten her. She became afraid. With our help, her ex-boyfriend changed his attitude and Maria once again felt safe.

Promoting peace through reconciliation

Maria is a student at a public school in the Fortaleza suburbs. She lives in Bom Jardim, an underprivileged and violent area. After breaking up with her ex-boyfriend John, Maria began to receive threatening phone calls from him. She started feeling afraid at school, which created a climate of insecurity that affected other students and teachers. She agreed to take part in a Circle of Peace, a meeting to mediate disputes. However, a few days before the parties met, another institution became involved. This institution adopted a repressive approach, threatening John with imprisonment.  As a result, the teenager no longer wished to cooperate. Maria again felt unsafe. She was so afraid she did not attend the meeting. A support circle for John and his mother helped the boy understand Maria's feelings. He admitted his mistake, took responsibility for it and changed his attitude. He agreed to write Maria a letter to apologise. School staff congratulated John for his changed attitude.

This example shows that reparative justice can be applied in a preventative way, before violent acts or crimes have been committed. This process allowed the school to restore peace within its walls. Maria felt safe and John's mother strengthened her relationship with her son. John took responsibility for his actions, understood his mistakes and adopted a new approach to life.

Not her real name