It is with great sadness that the board and staff of AJS mourn the death of Mark Wagenveld after a battle with glastioblastoma. He was 73.

At AJS, we believe that part of our calling as Christians is to speak truth to power, whoever is in power, and in this way protect the poor and vulnerable that are so close to God’s heart. Whether or not we personally support Honduras’ new elected leaders, we consider it our job for the next four years to try to make their administration as effective as possible. This is not a partisan position, but a Christian one. We know from experience that when governments fail, those who suffer are the poorest and most vulnerable – widows, orphans, strangers, the young, the old, and the sick.
 
Honduran flag

Here are nine moments where we saw change in 2017!

"I had many victories in my years with the police – I earned medals and diplomas, and many awards. But I don’t remember a single victim or witness ever thanking me for my work. With Peace and Justice, that has become the most important prize I could receive. I would rather receive the gratitude of one family than all the awards in the world.”

AJS began confronting community violence with a single investigator and a single lawyer, both of whom acted as trusted bridges between victims of violence and the judicial system, helping victims navigate the complicated path to justice. Individuals may not have trusted the police, but they grew to trust AJS, who knew them personally, supported them with emergency needs, and even prayed alongside them.

Berta Cáceres was a remarkable activist dedicated to defending the vulnerable of Honduras. After her murder, AJS is supporting her family and seeking justice in her case. 

"We Hondurans are fed up with corruption. But to ask politicians to resolve the problem is like asking a football player to be the referee of his own team. The solution has to come from us."

3de3 campaign Honduras

“Who knows the story of David and Goliath?” asks Dolores Martinez, who coordinates AJS’s community engagement and auditing project. All twenty of the participants in plastic chairs arranged in a circle raise their hands. With the few small stones of advocacy, oversight, and accountability, she tells them, they can bring down the giant of corruption that is limiting the public education system in Honduras. 

teaching social auditing in schools

Through its three conferences, “Communities of Learning” brought civil society leaders of international prominence together to discuss topics important to Honduran society. Experts in the fight against corruption and impunity encouraged Honduran citizens to be involved and committed in the justice process of their country by supporting the justice system, demanding transparency from politicians and denouncing corruption.

AJS has spent nearly a decade working to protect children from sexual abuse, and seven years on making the public education system in Honduras more effective and transparent. Now a new initiative combines these goals, helping to strengthen the education system’s methods of receiving, processing, and responding to cases of sexual abuse in schools.

childs hands

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