Tag Archives: el salvador

Escaping a Poor Education

In the town of Santa Tecla, located six miles west of El Salvador’s capital, San Salvador, our affiliated project, the Marillac School is providing children with the opportunity to receive an education — and a quality one at that.

Communities and schools around the world face barriers in providing children with a quality education.

Founded in 1940 by the Sisters of the Order of St. Vincent de Paul, the school serves as not only an escape from the harsh realities local students face growing up in poverty but an escape from poor public education or no education at all.

Considered a semi-private institution, the administrators of the Marillac School — with sponsorship support from the Children Incorporated program — work hard to ensure that kids are receiving basic needs and the best education that they can provide. This gives our sponsored and unsponsored children the opportunity to succeed.

What constitutes poor education?

Children at the Marillac School

Communities and schools around the world face barriers to providing children with a quality education. Lack of adequate funding to educational institutions can lead to overcrowded classrooms with little or no resources for students. Untrained teachers, lack of proper food and improper classroom facilities can also significantly affect children’s ability to learn.

The consequences of an inadequate education

What are the consequences of an inadequate education? Poor education can lead to illiteracy. It also inhibits children from qualifying for higher education or being prepared to join the workforce later in life. Children who aren’t properly education tend to be less healthy than those who do and are susceptible to turning towards crime and remaining in poverty in adulthood.

A better chance at a future

For impoverished children around the world, like those at the Marallic School, the benefits of quality education are tremendous.

Higher quality of education are associated with positive outcomes such as better health and well-being and a greater interest in politics and social issues. Students who attend quality schools gain a competitive advantage at getting jobs upon graduation, which can lead to a higher income and the chance for a family to break the cycle of poverty. Quality education also can discourage crime because when educated, children feel a sense of hope and opportunity for a brighter future for themselves and their loved ones.

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How do I sponsor a child in El Salvador?

You can sponsor a child in El Salvador in one of three ways: call our office at 1-800-538-5381 and speak with one of our staff members; email us at sponsorship@children-inc.org; or go online to our sponsorship portal, create an account, and search for a child in El Salvador that is available for sponsorship.

A Blooming School in El Salvador

Abundant in rivers, lakes and fertile, tropical farmland, El Salvador’s natural beauty traverses a vast central plateau bordered by Pacific coastal plains to the south and rugged mountains to the north. For centuries, several Mesoamerican nations called this land home, including the Lenca, Olmec, Maya and Pipil/Cutcatlec.

“Santa Luisa is blooming. They have added new classrooms for the children. There were new labs for skills training programs, and a small kitchen was built as well,” said Luis.

However, this small and densely populated Central American nation is particularly susceptible to natural disasters such as earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, and has been plagued by chronic political and economic instability for more than a century.

High unemployment rates, rising inflation, organized crime and a soaring birthrate leave many Salvadorans living in abject poverty. The border town of Sonsonate — where our affiliated project Escuela Santa Luisa is located — is one of many places affected by these afflictions.

A school to be proud of

Nearly a century ago, Sisters of the Daughters of Charity established Escuela Santa Luisa to provide a safe haven and sound education for the orphaned, abandoned and impoverished children of Sonsonate. The school continues its mission today helping children in need — including the more than 60 children our sponsors support at the project.

All-focus

On a recent visit to El Salvador, our Director of International Programs, Luis Bourdet, visited with our volunteer coordinator Sister Marta at the school. Sister Marta took Luis on a tour of the grounds to show him the renovations that had taken place at Escuela Santa Luisa that made her very proud.

“Santa Luisa is blooming. They have added new classrooms for the children. There were new labs for skills training programs, and a small kitchen was built as well,” said Luis.

While on their tour, Sister Marta took the opportunity to mention to Luis some additional improvements she would like to see happen — ones that the school did not currently have funding of their own to complete.

Our Hope in Action Fund to the Rescue

“The school’s biggest need now is to install a roof in the playground of the school, which they want to use to protect the children from rain and excessive sun. It will mean that the playground can be used all year long and that it can double as a place for students, parents and school administrators to hold meetings,” explained Luis.

Luis felt strongly that anything that could be done to improve the school would also help the children be more prepared, focused and active in their learning — all things that can lead to academic success. He made up his mind before their meeting was over that he would propose using donations to our Hope in Action Fund to help Escuela Santa Luisa continue with their important improvements.

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How do I sponsor a child in El Salvador?

You can sponsor a child in El Salvador in one of three ways: call our office at 1-800-538-5381 and speak with one of our staff members; email us at sponsorship@children-inc.org; or go online to our sponsorship portal, create an account, and search for a child in El Salvador that is available for sponsorship.

Understanding El Salvador

Abundant in rivers, lakes and tropical farmland, El Salvador’s natural beauty traverses a vast central plateau bordered by Pacific coastal plains to the south and rugged mountains to the north. For centuries, several Mesoamerican nations called this land home, including the Lenca, Olmec, Maya and Pipil/Cutcatlec.

High unemployment rates, rising inflation, organized crime and a soaring birthrate leave many Salvadorans to live in abject poverty.

However, this smallest and most densely populated Central American nation is particularly susceptible to natural disasters such as earthquakes and volcanic eruptions and has been plagued by chronic political and economic instability for more than a century. High unemployment rates, rising inflation, organized crime and a soaring birthrate leave many Salvadorans to live in abject poverty.

Facts about El Salvador

  • The capital of El Salvador is San Salvador
  • El Salvador is known as the Land of Volcanoes
  • Coffee, sugar, corn, rice, shrimp and beef are the main agricultural products in El Salvador
  • The official language is Spanish. Indigenous languages spoken in El Salvador are called Nawat and Pipil
  • El Salvador has the third-largest economy in Central America behind Costa Rica and Panama


Facts about poverty in El Salvador

  • 25% of children under the age of 5 live in extreme poverty in El Salvador
  • 36% of the rural population lives in poverty
  • Although 96% of children are in school, the quality of education in the country is poor
  • Almost 20 percent of males and 25 percent of females aged 15 or above cannot read or write
  • El Salvador has one of the highest rates of crime and murder in the world and gang violence and extortion disturbs the economy leading to widespread poverty


Where we work

In El Salvador, we work with three affiliated projects, Escuela Santa Luisa in Sonsonate, the Laboure School in San Salvador and the Marillac School in Santa Tecla.

Read more about our affiliated projects

Coming soon!

How you can help in El Salvador

You can help a child living in poverty in El Salvador in a few different ways. One way is through our child sponsorship program. Sponsorship provides an underprivileged child with basic and education-related necessities such as food, clothing, healthcare, school supplies and school tuition payments.

This vital support allows impoverished, vulnerable children to develop to their full potential — physically, emotionally and socially. Sponsors positively impact the lives of the children they sponsor through the knowledge that someone cares about their wellbeing. This gives children in need hope, which is powerful.

Sponsorship provides an underprivileged child with basic and education-related necessities such as food, clothing, healthcare, school supplies and school tuition payments.

Our policy has always been to consider the needs of each sponsored child on an individual basis. We work closely with our volunteer coordinators at our project sites in El Salvador, who are familiar with each individual circumstance and the needs of every child in their care. Sponsorship donations are sent to our
projects — orphanages, homes, community centers and schools — at the beginning of each month in the form of subsidy stipends. Our on-site volunteer coordinators use those funds to purchase items for children in our program, to ensure that they have what they need to do their very best and succeed in school.

You can also help children in El Salvador by donating to one of our special funds. Our special funds offer a variety of giving options for sponsors who wish to further their support, as well as for donors who wish to make a difference without making a commitment. In the past, thanks to donations to our Hope In Action Fund and our International Feeding Program, we have been able to further support our projects in El Salvador beyond sponsorship.

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A songbird in El Salvador

In El Salvador, children have two choices: try as hard as they can to stay in school or submit to the constant pressure to join neighborhood gangs. Organized crime is rife in El Salvador, and recruitment starts at an early age, when kids are at their most vulnerable. Often, their parents are working and the children are home alone—that’s when gang culture starts to come knocking, angling for loyalty and increasing their numbers.

img_0361When parents are involved in their children’s day-to-day lives, says Children Incorporated’s International Programs Director Luis Bourdet, they’ll have some control over some of these situations. But that can’t always be the case, and that’s why programs like the Marillac secondary school are often the only force helping children resist an easier, but much more dangerous, way to make a living.

Opening doors to a better life

The Sisters who have run Marillac focus on expanding their reach and intensifying their offerings for the poor families that surround them. They recognize that children not only need education, a safe space to learn, and psychological support, but also the kind of activities that foster motivation, independence, and a sense of community. To further these goals, the sisters have put their heads together and dreamed up new facilities that sponsors have helped them turn into reality. A new gymnasium, a computer lab, and even a robotics program. Children Incorporated has been proud to help with the security for the lab, and even prouder to watch as the children find joy in something that will help them stay focused on a better life for both them and their families.

They recognize that children need education, a safe space to learn, and psychological support, but also the kind of activities that foster motivation, independence, and a sense of community.

One Children Incorporated-sponsored student, in particular, has embodied this spirit of using her gifts to help her community. Sofia’s adventure began as “just a student of ours who likes to sing,” as Luis describes it. After losing her father a year prior, Sofia was having trouble coping. “She was so sad,” remembers Luis. “You could see how sad this poor little girl was. And she would sing this famous Spanish sad song, and it was powerful. Her voice was incredible.”

Members of the community began to promote Sofia in the area, and she was invited to participate on a local television program. The producers noticed her skill at singing, dancing, and leading other children, and asked her if she would like her own show, now a popular children’s musical hour.

The local radio station followed suit, and Sofia now also hosts a talk show for children. “She’s so motivated to do well,” says Luis. “She comes back and coordinates these dances at the school, and shows everyone how to do the dances—she’s always involved in this, that, and the other.”

Because of donations to Children Incorporated, Sofia has been able to afford Marillac’s school fees, and it’s opened up opportunities for her in ways she may never have experienced. Now, she’s on track to become an El Salvador success story, and she’s inspiring other children to express themselves while carrying on cultural traditions. To Luis, that’s a testament to the belief of Children Incorporated’s donors, who know that helping out one child can affect the lives of many.

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HOW DO I SPONSOR A CHILD IN EL SALVADOR?

You can sponsor a child in El Salvador in one of three ways – call our office and speak with one of our sponsorship specialists at 1-800-538-5381, email us at sponsorship@children-inc.org, or go online to our donation portal, create an account, and search for a child in El Salvador that is available for sponsorship.