The SHARE Blog

Education is Liberation

March 1, 2013

The Ministry of Education declared Uluazapa, A volunteer teaches Alicia "Doña LIcha" to read and writeSan Miguel free from illiteracy in February. After 580 people learned to read and write, Uluazapa claims more than words: the people of Uluazapa claim independence, awareness, and the potential to learn ways to improve their lives and the dynamics of their communities. Uluazapa is the tenth municipality in El Salvador to be free from illiteracy.

At SHARE, we believe literacy is a basic right. Unfortunately, many families must choose between their children’s education and daily needs. Edgar Caballero, a youth organizer from the October 12th Popular Resistance Movement (MPR-12) who met with the Northwest School Delegation on February 18th, elaborated on the barriers that prevent literacy:

“How can you explain to your stomach that you want to study to be an engineer when you don’t have food to eat?”

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Hey Young Folks, Organize!

February 21, 2013

Northwest delegates had fun during their "Back to Back" dinamica with Edgar

Northwest delegates had a blast during their “Back to Back” dinamica with Edgar

What is the difference between a group and an organization?  

Edgar Caballero, a youth leader with the October 12th Popular Resistance Movement (MPR-12), led youth from Northwest School in Seattle, WA through a discussion of the daily reality for youth in El Salvador and the ways in which youth organizing breaks societal constructs that hinder growth while empowering young people to change their communities.

Edgar led the 30 delegates from Northwest School through a dinamica (an icebreaker) called “Back to Back”, with Q & A about youth organizing. Edgar explained that the MPR-12 is a social movement that brings together various civil society organizations, including SHARE counterparts CRIPDES and CONFRAS, to coordinate advocacy actions and projects for social and economic transformation.

For Edgar, the difference between a group and an organization is the level of commitment, participation, and vision of the members. Edgar works to help youth form their own organizations, analyzing the reality in which they live and defining goals and alternatives. Edgar shared the difficult economic situation many youth face, including limited academic and work opportunities, which lead many youth to join gangs or to dream of migrating to the U.S.  ¨How can you explain to your stomach that you want to study to be an engineer when you don’t have food to eat?¨

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In the Land of Flowering Trees

February 11, 2013

A letter from one of the December 2012 HWR Delegates, Bette Ann Jaster, OP.

Bette Ann prays with the congregation during mass in Puerto de la Libertad

Bette Ann prays with the congregation during mass in Puerto de la Libertad

Dear Ones,

The sights and sounds of El Salvador linger with me still as I travel back to NY in the middle of this year’s Advent journey. This land of volcanoes and lush green valleys with coconuts, papayas, mandarin oranges, avocados and flowering trees, plants and bushes,  is on one hand, a magnificent paradise. The occasional cattle accompanied by white egrets, the roaming chickens and goats, foraging pigs, strong horses, loud parrots, soaring hawks, lizards, frogs and skinny dogs, invite one to look and listen closely. December is the dry season. In the midst of such beauty, this land of the martyrs and her people have tales to tell, stories of desperation and death, memories of waiting, longing and yearning for the Disappeared to return and for new life to come again.

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Do you love SHARE? Like us!

February 7, 2013

LIKE us on Facebook!

LIKE us on Facebook!

Even though we keep you updated on happenings in El Salvador through this blog, if you want more updates and interesting stories and news, go to our Facebook page, hover over the “LIKE” button, and click it! 

We’ll show up in your news feed and you’ll be so happy about it. 


Accompanying the Lives of the Lost

February 6, 2013

Sr. Ann Braudis, MM, took part in the December 2012 Honoring Women Religious Delegation. As a Maryknoll Sister herself, this is her reflection on the role of religious women in El Salvador and her experience during the Delegation. 

Honoring religious women: In the current period when U.S. American religious women have found themselves cast under a harsh and scrutinizing light, the motion to pay tribute to what they and their lay companions have given their lives to, resonates forcefully in the hearts of many people. This is captured in the following words adapted from the writings of the SHARE Foundation:


Delegates pray at the Maryknoll sisters’ grave site in Chalatenango

For more than three decades, women religious and lay women have accompanied the people of El Salvador. Women religious responded to the cry for help during and after the war, traveling to El Salvador and working side by side with communities at the highest risk. They gave sanctuary to Salvadoran refugees in the U.S., fought for fair immigration policies, and pressured the U.S. government to cease military aid in order to end the war. Religious congregations provided material aid for the reconstruction of El Salvador in the aftermath of the war and countless natural disasters and continue to support women’s projects around the country. Theirs has been a labor of love infused with the spirit of our sister martyrs – a spirit of justice, compassion, and a willingness to speak truth to power.

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Mining: Stop Contaminating My Home!

February 5, 2013

Representatives want to see long-term change in mining practices, not temporary solutions

Representatives want to see long-term change in mining practices, not temporary solutions

The National Roundtable Against Metallic Mining (Mesa) and the International Allies Against Metallic Mining held a press conference at the CRIPDES offices yesterday morning. The Mesa spoke out in solidarity with Honduras and Guatemala, and the Allies spoke in solidarity with the Mesa. Alex Early, a representative of Sister Cities, presented the International Letter of Support for the National Roundtable Against Metallic Mining in El Salvador. As members of the International Allies, SHARE staff attended the conference to show their solidarity with the Mesa. The press conference highlighted several important issues:

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“Partnership for Growth” or Destruction?

February 1, 2013

When El Salvador privatized electric energy in 1999, electricity rates rose an average 47.2% for the lowest-level consumers and 24.3% for the highest users, hitting the poorest sectors of society the hardest and illuminating problems associated with privatization. During the past two decades, privatization has trampled through El Salvador’s economy. In 2007 the government attempted to privatize water under the thinly-veiled “decentralization” effort, but a passionate social movement response halted the potentially devastating law. With the newly proposed P3 law, an even stronger offensive is needed to block the menacing attempt at privatization.   

Salvadorans protest the bill that would destroy progress with labor rights.Photo credit: Eric Draitser

Salvadorans protest the bill that would destroy progress with labor rights.

With the Public-Private Partnership (P3) law, the government is again attempting privatization; this time the P3 law threatens to destroy labor conditions, including unions and wages, and disempower Salvadoran institutions and workers. 

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Video Memoir: Celebrating Ita, Maura, Jean, and Dorothy

This past December, over 50 women and men, religious and lay, came to El Salvador. They came to celebrate the lives of Maura Clarke, Ita Ford, Dorothy Kazel, and Jean Donovan, who were martyred during the civil war. During the ten day delegation, we traveled by yellow school buses all over the country; we filled our days by exploring the National Cathedral, wandering to Ita and Maura’s gravesite at sunset in Chalatenango, and resting with their beloved Salvadoran brothers and sisters in the countryside, surrounded by torchlight and welcoming embraces. For a look back at our time in El Salvador, walk with us through the Honoring Women Religious Delegation Video Memoir

A Look at the Drew Theological School Delegation

January 27, 2013

“We didn’t just visit tourist sites…the things we study in theory have been enriched through this experience. This is not a superficial visit to El Salvador and I really appreciate the great lengths SHARE and Drew [University] went to to expose us to such powerful people” – Susan Goodman

Throughout the past two weeks, students of Drew University Theological School accompanied Salvadorans through the sharing of their past and the realities of their present. The students met with Salvadorans who opened their hearts, engaging the students in their everyday lives and El Salvador’s history. Homestays in Pequeña Comunidad allowed the students to live and work alongside Salvadorans and become a part of their families for a brief time. After visiting memorial sites, such as the Monument to Truth and Memory, and connecting with human rights groups like the Romero Coalition, the students implemented the theories they learned in the classroom during their short visit to El Salvador. 

The Drew Delegates decided to jump in the the women from the Mujeres Ganaderas Cattle Cooperative for a photo

The Drew Delegates decided to jump in the the women from the Mujeres Ganaderas Cattle Cooperative for a photo

At the conclusion of their stay, students positively remarked on their conversations and reflections throughout their short visit to El Salvador. Student Drew Frisbie reflected, “For me, this experience has been about widening the circle of people we care about…after talking to people who have experienced radical hardship and still share hospitality, I have widened my circle.” The memories created on this delegation will help guide these students in their ministry.  

Want to get a closer look at how Drew University students spent their time in El Salvador?  Check out the Drew Delegation Video to see and hear more!

Interested in learning more about SHARE? Looking to join SHARE on a delegation? Visit the SHARE website for details.

Torchlight in the Darkness

January 24, 2013

Diane Clyne, former SHARE Board member and Sister of Mercy, traveled with the December Honoring Women Religious Delegation in December 2012, and proceeded to visit Honduras. Diane lived in El Salvador during the 1990s This is her reflection on her visit back to these two tumultuous and healing nations. 

Diane with two of her Salvadoran comrades in Chalatenango

Diane with two of her Salvadoran comrades in Chalatenango

Finding hope this winter 2012-2013 has been bittersweet. I returned mid December after ten days in El Salvador and over a week with our sisters in San Pedro Sula, Honduras to learn of the deaths of Innocents in Newtown Connecticut. My heart seemed caught in a downward spiral.

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