More to El Salvador than the Headlines
Most news coverage on El Salvador focuses on the country’s civil war, which ended in 1992, its current gang problem or its ongoing violence. Here at TRF, we prefer to focus on solutions that have helped the country to lower its post-conflict murder rate by 70 percent in less than two decades.
The majority of the people in the small Central American country aspire to create a promising future for their children. Many individuals and organizations contribute toward such a vision. TRF local partner Asociación para la Educación y Organización Empresarial Femenina de El Salvador (OEF), for example, runs after-school programs in marginalized communities. Locally hired, OEF-trained facilitators manage each program and engage at-risk youth in activities ranging from academic reinforcement to conflict prevention and many other life skills.
As part of TRF’s Regional Education and Gender Equity Program, a regional approach uniting nonprofits from 10 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean thanks to Caterpillar Foundation resources, we visited El Salvador in September. During the visit, TRF witnessed a wide range of activities used to engage youth. In addition to providing vital academic reinforcement for students in their weakest subjects, OEF facilitators organize fun music, dance or theatrical performances like the interpretation of The Wizard of Oz. While having fun, facilitators weave in lessons about values, life and leadership skills.
By Gian Paolo Einaudi, TRF Director of Social Investments