The SHARE Blog

MPR-12: Moving Towards a Better Future

October 16, 2014

On October 12, the MPR-12 gathered to celebrate their 12th anniversary and continue the fight for social justice in El Salvador and all of Latin America. The day was also marked by the commemoration of 522 years of resistance towards Spanish, English, and now US imperialism. Moving forward, the Salvadoran people  demand potable water and food sovereignty while also saying no to mining. In order for the fight to continue, the participation of youth is key. Amongst the activists present were many young Salvadorans, eager to take part in the  demand for human rights in their country.

Many participants shared about the importance of the youth involvement in the MPR-12. One MPR-12 member said, “Youth are the answer to the struggle. To fight the repression we must work to feed their brains and educate them.” Through political schools, people from rural communities come to be informed about the current political situation in the country. They gain the tools to think critically and organize, so the communities can then work towards the realization of their rights.

 

Noel, a CRIPDES organizer and former youth scholarship student, shared, “The youth’s involvement is important because it empowers them. Then they can come together, and it is with unity that we can demand our rights. This is how we do it. This is how their parents did it.”

The youth demand more just and dignified work!

Many youth talked about the importance of continuing the fight their parents fought for social justice and human rights. In order to see change in the future, the youth must be  active and willing to take a stand now. If the fight is going to continue, the youth must be involved.

 


SHARE (your) Inspiration: Sarah Hall

October 13, 2014

The first of a staff series where we SHARE (our) inspirations.


Youth Leadership Development and Academic Formation in San Vicente

October 11, 2014

The following is the semester report for the Youth Leadership Development and Academic Formation Program in San Vicente.

CRSV 2014 Youth Semester Report Summary pic 1

CRSV scholarship students explain the types of leaders they discussed in small groups. April 2014

Description
With this project, CRIPDES San Vicente (CRSV) aims to strengthen students’ academic skills, as well as enhance youth leadership abilities and community organization. Supporting such skills will contribute to the reduction of the high
indices of violence in Tecoluca. Youth will directly participate in the development of different activities to continue the process of violence reduction in the region.

Project duration: January-December 2014

This semester included:
6 informative regional assemblies to present scholarship funds and workshops on certain themesFormation workshops in peace education, including themes such as violence, drug addiction, and conflict resolution are scheduled for the second semester. Read More »


Salvadoran Families Struggle to Commemorate Their Disappeared

October 9, 2014

This article by Jeff Ritterman, MD was originally published in the Huffington Post on October 8th, 2014. Bethany Loberg is second author of this article. Bethany was the Human Rights Advocacy Co-ordinator for SHARE-El Salvador.

Beth article 1
All photos courtesy of Claire Moll, SHARE-El Salvador, Communications Coordinator. All photos are from a demonstration by the Relatives of the Disappeared, San Salvador, August, 2014. 

1980 was a tragic year for Sofia Hernandez and her family. Government security forces and right wing death squads were terrorizing the rural population of El Salvador. By March, Sofia’s family had fled their home in the countryside in hopes of finding safety. Two months later, Sofia’s brother was disappeared. By the summer’s end she was a widow. Her husband of 15 years, Juan, was murdered. Sofia’s daughter Norma, another brother, a nephew, and a cousin had also joined the swelling numbers of the disappeared.

Sofia Hernandez, like so many other relatives of the disappeared, searched for loved ones in military garrisons, prisons, hospitals, morgues, and even in garbage dumps, where bodies appeared daily. Most often they searched in vain. Decades later, many are still left with unanswered questions. Where is my son, my daughter, my mother, my father, my brother, my sister? Donde estan? Donde?

Read More »


More than just cooking and cleaning

October 7, 2014

Recently, SHARE staff spent some time getting to know the women that form various Savings and Loans Groups in La Libertad. Cripdes Sur help found over 130 of these groups in the last year. Some have more than $1,000 in savings already. However, the purpose of the groups isn’t just to foster a culture of savings, but to also provide women with a space to talk about their rights. Many women in El Salvador have never been told that they have more rights than just “cooking, cleaning, and taking care of children,” as woman responded on television here the other day. The women of La Libertad are becoming organized and money savvy. “For Cripdes, there is a lot of satisfaction that comes from seeing these groups moving forward,” shared Zulma, Cripdes Sur Women’s Coordinator.

The following is a group interview of the women of Colonia Belen, Comasagua:

What do you like about the Savings and Loans Group?

“It motivates us to keep moving forward, especially those of us who are single mothers.”

“We now know how to value ourselves as women.”

“The time that we get to share together is the beautiful part of it all.”

“It is great what we are learning about our rights.”

 

What do the other women of the community think of the Savings and Loans Groups? Are they interested in joining?

“Some women say that they are too busy. But we are all busy, but I love being a part of this group because I learn so much.”

“Many more want to join next year after this cycle closes.”

 

What do the men of the community think of the Savings and Loans Groups?

“They support us!”

“My husband doesn’t put any obstacles in the way of my participation.”

“For the most part, they think everything is fine.”

“Now they know they can’t hit us because we have the numbers of the organization that will help us. Hitting women is illegal. We now know our rights.”

[The men] ask, ‘When are they going to create Ciudad Hombre (referring to the government program Ciudad Mujer)?’ But the answer is that it already exists. It’s called Chalatenango, Santa Ana, and San Salvador (names of large cities in El Salvador).”

 

Do you have any questions you would like to ask our project partners? If so, contact Claire Moll at communications@share-elsalvador.org

 


Cuentos de Chalatenango: Food Sovereignty and Rural Women’s Empowerment

October 4, 2014

The following is the semester report for the Food Sovereignty and Rural Women’s Empowerment Project in Chalatenango.

Description
To contribute to the development of rural women through strengthening the organization of women’s committees, developing leadership skills through workshops in leadership, self-esteem, awareness of laws that protect the rights of women, and economic and technical support for small agricultural initiatives.

CCR 2014 Rural Women's Empowerment Semester Report Summary pic 1

CCR exchange event for women to share knowledge and experiences.

Duration: January – December 2014

Location: Seven municipalities throughout the department of Chalatenango

This semester’s activities included:
Three training sessions for 89 women participants on soil preparation and garden management to establish the family gardens
Three exchanges for 85 women participants to share their experiences and knowledge regarding the nutritional value of the vegetables and greens they
grow
Elaboration of the Advocacy Plan for the Chalatenango Women’s Association with 29 women participating from 4 rural communities and the urban center of
Chalatenango
Follow up visits and workshops for project beneficiaries from the 2013 SHARE-CCR Women’s Empowerment project.

Read More »


El Jocote

October 2, 2014

Right now in El Salvador, communities are harvesting the Jocote Corona. The jocote is a small round fruit eaten both “tierno” (not yet ripened) and “maduro” (ripe). The following is a poem written by Claire Moll, Communications Coordinator.

El Jocote

Perhaps El Salvador is just that—
A jocote

But not just any one in particularjacote
Rather each and all.

There is a sour, bitter part
Where the mouth tingles
Saying, “why are you
Subjecting me to this?”

Saliva fills,
Trying to combat.

But then…
The sweet nectar shines through,
And your taste buds rejoice
Singing praises. Read More »


San Carlos Lempa’s Young Entrepreneurs

September 30, 2014

DSC03384

Monica in the chicken coop

In San Carlos Lempa, youth are organizing and putting their education to use to move themselves and their community forward. Monica, a recent high school graduate, leads a group of her peers in managing a chicken farm project funded through CORDES.  In order to fulfill graduation requirements at the end of their last year of high school, Monica and her fellow students created a business plan. CORDES saw this as an opportunity to support organized students, but had limited funds. However, several groups of high schoolers had project proposals. Thus, the groups had to submit fully developed applications detailing not only their business plan but a projected community impact. Monica and her nine peers developed a project that would provide local stores with cheaper, fresher chicken than what they could purchase from large suppliers. Read More »


Cuentos de Chalatenango: Youth Leadership Development and Academic Formation

September 27, 2014

The following is the semester report of the Youth Leadership project in Chalatenango.

Description
With this project, the CCR will strengthen youth organizing in Chalatenango communities, including Hacienda Vieja, Las Lomas, El Amatillo, Jícaro, Ignacio Ellacuría, Teosinte, Chalatenango, Los Posos, San José Cancasque, Buena Vista and La Lima. Scholarships will incentivize youth to get more involved in community organizing and participate in community structures. The CCR will work with youth to build their leadership skills through formal and informal education spaces.
Project duration: January-December 2014

This semester included:
Three bi-monthly youth scholarship assemblies held for the 16 high school students. Each assembly
features a workshop regarding a certain theme relating to the scholarship students’ holistic leadership
formation: historic memory, mining exploitation, and analysis of current events.
CCR team members have given similar workshops in the schools where scholarship students study.
Youth helped organize and participated in various historic commemorations and other community
activities in Chalatenango.

Read More »


Que Viva la Democracia! Moving forward on Mining Ban

September 25, 2014

mining sjlf

Photo Cred: International Allies Against Mining in El Salvador

The municipality of San Jose Las Flores in Chalatenango, one of El Salvador’s northern departments bordering Honduras, historically has found itself in struggles for rights to resources located in the region.  Up until September 21st, 2014, this narrative prevailed. The citizens of San Jose Las Flores decided to put Salvadoran democracy to the test. Last Saturday, the municipality held a community consultation regarding foreign mineral mining on their land, an act that would contaminate local and national  water sources and force them to relocate. 67% of those eligible to vote, an impressive turnout, arrived at the various voting centers within the municipality to let their voices be heard. A resounding 99% voted down the mining proposition. According to Salvadoran municipal code and national law, this consultation is legally binding. San Jose Las Flores became the first town to completely ban mining. This area, as long as the law is upheld, is the only municipality in El Salvador to protect its natural resources in this manner.

This community consultation not only legitimizes Salvadoran democracy in Chalatenango but it also gives hope to the rest of the country. Currently, the government of El Salvador is being sued in a World Bank tribunal for not allowing Canadian/Austrialian mining company, PacificRim/OceanaGold to operate in El Salvador.  The company filed the case on the grounds that El Salvador acted against the free market agreements between North and Central America. OceanaGold identifies northern El Salvador as a lucrative gold production site. However, the Salvadoran government denied their request for permits in recognition of the environmental, health, and social implications of gold mining. If the company wins, the government will be forced to either allow OceanaGold to mine or to pay the company a fine amounting in hundreds of millions of dollars. There is no speculation when it comes to assessing the environmental and societal impacts on El Salvador if PacificRim/OceanaGold wins the case. Neighboring Honduras allows mining extraction, which has since left the rivers toxic, complicating access to clean water sources, and introducing hundreds of cases of skin disease. National borders don’t keep polluted waters from flowing in to the next country. Mining in Honduras (not to mention if mining begins in the northern region of El Salvador), has provoked great concern over cyanide entering the Lempa River watershed. This particular watershed provides over half the Salvadoran population with water for cooking, cleaning, washing, and drinking, including the majority of the population in San Salvador.

There are also social implications attributed to mining in Honduras. The mining issue pits family members and neighbors against each other. On one side, there are those whose livelihoods depend on the jobs provided by the mining industry. However, there are others raising awareness of the environmental and health repercussions caused by mining exploitation. This same issue already burdens Salvadoran society.

As people in solidarity with El Salvador, we cannot let that happen. We want to see more large scale action like that in San Jose Las Flores.  Let your voice be heard today and sign this petition demanding that OceanaGold drop the case and get out of El Salvador!


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