Posts Tagged ‘Youth’

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.

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.

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Targets of Repression: Case against young Salvadoran men

May 19, 2014

Geovanni leads a workshop in a marginalized urban community.

Geovanni leads a workshop in a marginalized urban community.

In a cinder block community center in front of a dusty ravine surrounded by dwellings constructed from sheets of corrugated tin, a group of women with sorrow etched into their faces gather to discuss ways to support their sons, unjustly sentenced and imprisoned in Mariona, one of El Salvador’s most notorious prisons. Nearly all of the mothers of these youth are part of the community council and have been community leaders for the last ten years, and their sons have followed in their footsteps, helping them construct the community center and seek access to decent housing. Nevertheless they have been targets of repression.

On Wednesday, March 26th, the leaders and members of the Santa Cecilia and El Progreso 3 communities near the center of San Salvador received a slap in the face. Eleven young men from the communities were sentenced to four years in prison, accused of illicit association, or being involved in gangs and of enacting specific roles within gangs. This sentence came as a shock to the community, who value these youth as community leaders who have helped support and organize construction of housing, organization of health campaigns, and soccer tournaments in the community.  FESPAD worked with a team of lawyers to help present an appeal. While they are hopeful about the outcome, the process can be long and slow and meanwhile the youth remain in prison. Click here to find out what you can do! Read More »

A River of Memory

January 18, 2014

2014-01-15 22.58.21On the 22nd anniversary of the peace accords, youth activists, indigenous Salvadorans, Christian Base Communities, human rights organizations and victims of human rights violations joined together for a creative march: Let us Be a River of Memory: Truth, Justice, and Reparations. Inspirationally, extremely involved youth activists led this march as well as spearheaded two major protests after the closure of Tutela Legal. The youth clearly demonstrated the importance of historical memory for the younger generations while accompanying the generation that lived through those horrific injustices, working towards a united Salvadoran pueblo.

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Celebrating 2013!

December 30, 2013

Here are just a few highlights of what SHARE Donors made possible in 2013.

You can ensure these important programs continue in 2014. Donate today!

There is still time to donate in 2013!

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From SHARE scholarship student to literacy promoter

November 19, 2013

Carlos Gomez Marinero, 23 years old

Carlos Gomez Marinero, 23 years old

From SHARE scholarship student to literacy promoter, the tireless work of Carlos Gomez Marinero is inspiring to say the least. Carlos was born in the community of San Francisco Angulo, San Vicente.

Since graduating from university in August of this year, Carlos has worked with CIDEP´s youth literacy program.  The program is directed towards youth between the ages of 12 and 18 who have left their studies for various reasons, such as economic instability forcing them to find work, living too far from appropriate schooling, gang involvement or exclusion from local census research which identifies people and communities of need. CIDEP, along with the Ministry of Education (MINED), CRIPDES, and the International Organization of Work (OIT), makes up the Literacy Alliance in San Vicente. The alliance has worked to liberate Salvadoran society from illiteracy since 2009. Carlos is a proud member of CIDEP´s regional team, and hopes to leave his impact on the campaign, “by creating common conscience and developing lives.”

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Salvadoran Youth Combat Poverty and Develop Communities

November 12, 2013

Not everyone has access to the basic human right to write and read. In El Salvador many people suffer this injustice. Without the work of the Ministry of Education (MINED) and the various organizations working together to carry out the National Literacy Campaign, Salvadoran society wouldn’t be able advance towards the day when no student, adult or young person, has to give up schooling for reasons such as: being obligated to work due to economic conditions, living too far from local schools to attend, or lack of resources to afford materials and uniforms, among many other barriers.

Karen and

Karen showing her group’s work.

In 2009, FMLN President Mauricio Funes launched the national literacy campaign  “Si, Yo Puedo” or “Yes, I can”  adapted from both Cuban and Nicaraguan models that rely heavily on volunteers. A similar campaign was pushed previously under ARENA President Tony Saca; however, it operated on a much smaller scale and all employees were paid. The current program, which serves to provide a second chance for both children and adults deprived of education, only exists because of the tireless work the volunteers put in with few paid employees. The Ministry of Education hires only 26 promoters that are placed in each of the  departments and  oversee recruitment and training of volunteers who implement the literacy circles. Each municipality also has a local program in conjunction with MINED under the supervision of their Mayor’s office, which contracts its own promoters.

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Developing Women’s Rights: Roundtable Event in Chalatenango

October 16, 2013


Women of CCR

Women of CCR

In the 1970s, the valiant women of Chalatenango began organizing their communities, combating historical human rights abuses, fighting for women’s rights, and against mining. Today, almost four decades later, the women of the CCR (la Asociación de Comunidades para el Desarrollo de Chalatenango) continue to stand up for the rights of their communities. Made up of over 100 organized rural communities in Chalatenango, the CCR comprises one of the four CRIPDES regions with which SHARE partners.

Empowering women to be leaders within their communities lies at the center of transforming gender relationships in El Salvador. On September 25th the Women’s Secretariat of the CCR held a roundtable event  to strengthen this movement through an exchange of information and discussion of current events among the women who work tirelessly to continue this movement.

The roundtable included the women from different communities in the CCR, a representative from ISDEMU (the Salvadoran Institute for Women’s Development), two representatives from the Ministry of Education, and a representative from CORDES (a close partner of CRIPDES that provides technical training and support for agricultural initiatives). This roundtable touched upon various themes, including: domestic violence, liberating women from their silence and encouraging them to denounce crimes committed against them, promoting literacy at the regional and national level, and promoting women’s rights through advertisements on community radio stations.

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Hospitality in El Salvador

October 8, 2013

The following blog post was written by Faith Haining. Faith is a member of the UCC Salem High School Youth Group and traveled to El Salvador in July, 2013. 

On our trip to El Salvador, we saw hospitality everywhere. Every person we met along our trip treated us as if they had known us for years. For example, the woman who ran the guest house, Sonia, was sort of like our mother on the trip. The moment we walked in the door on the first night, she hugged and kissed us and made us so comfortable. She cooked for us, always asked how we were doing, and pampered us when some of us were sick, even dropped by the store to get us extra drinks. When I say that I only knew her for 10 days, it doesn’t seem realistic.

UCC Salem Youth Group

UCC Salem Youth Group

 We also saw a lot of kindness on our daily visits around the city. In places like the churches, the stores, and the organizations we visited, people always wanted to give us the best seat. If someone dropped something, several people would reach to help you, and help you find the right song in church if you didn’t know. And despite the fact that some of us weren’t the best Spanish speakers, they would try and help us and explain things to us so we could understand. While being there, we were almost treated like royalty. But what is even more amazing than that is that’s how everyone treats each other there. Every day. People in El Salvador show this kind of hospitality to their family, friends, and even strangers from another country. The fact that all these people were so generous to us, even though they might not know our names, it really made us feel comfortable, and I almost miss that now that I’m back here.


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“Literacy is both a challenge and something we owe to our people”: International Day for Literacy

September 12, 2013

On September 8th, the Salvadoran Ministry of Education celebrated the International Day of Literacy at an event highlighting the success of the National Literacy Campaign. This initiative has reduced illiteracy in El Salvador from 18% to 12% and will continue promoting literacy until at least February of next year.

Angelica Paniagua, National Literacy Coordinator

Angelica Paniagua, National Literacy Coordinator

Angelica Paniagua, the national director for the literacy campaign addressed the crowd of hundreds of volunteers involved in the campaign. “Illiteracy is a challenge that all of El Salvador will face until completely resolved.  Because until all of our adults, youth and children can read and write, we will not have justice and freedom,” expounded Paniagua, “Literacy is both a challenge and a something we owe to our people. It is a means of communication, social expression and it is a part of our culture.”

During the event, an older woman from La Palma, Chalatenango shared her story of learning to read and write. “My goal has always been to become a teacher.  But first I needed to learn how to read and write.  I am so thankful for the classes I have received.  Someday I will reach my goal,” she read with pride. Another guest at the table of honor was a fourteen-year old volunteer. He is responsible for teaching forty-six adults in La Hermita, San Miguel. Not only did he express how committed he is to the literacy campaign, but most importantly to his community.  “The best part is hearing their stories.  If we are an educated community, it is less difficult to trick us,” he said.   Read More »

Juan Carlos on Youth Leadership

August 1, 2013

Juan Carlos is a former SHARE Scholarship Recipient. He now co-coordinates CRIPDES San Vicente´s Youth Leadership Development and Scholarship Program. In addition to supporting local youth committees in their organizing work, this program provides scholarships for 56 high school students and semi-monthly workshops and assemblies where students gain leadership and community organizing skills. These assemblies and 21 of the scholarships are funded by SHARE Grassroots Partners. Below Juan shares his reflections on youth organizing and officially joining the CRIPDES San Vicente team:

Juan Carlos (San Vicente)

I became involved in youth organizing in 2009 when I started working with my community council, and then I participated in youth leadership workshops with CRIPDES, which helped me learn to get involved in my community, to express my opinion and respect others´ opinions.  The following year I took part in youth organizing as President of the youth committee in my community, a position I still hold today. We transformed the youth committee in my community. before the committee was very exclusive only some of the youth participated, but we starte sending invitations to all the youth.

It’s a pleasure to be part of the regional team at CRIPDES San Vicente, they are like family to me! I love sharing with the team and visiting the communities, making new friends. I have found that one’s experience, like mine, is incredibly important to share with the youth, because when youth are organized and involved in the community, it eliminates negative attitudes and bad habits. Instead they learn good habits.  Youth organizing uses community resources to improve the community. Youth can transform reality, we don´t have to wait for the adults.

“This is what youth organizing does: it creates a positive attitude in the community.”– Juan Carlos Portillo Hernandez, Youth Scholarship Promoter,  CRIPDES San Vicente

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