Faces of the Frente
The day before the election, our delegation visited a school funded by La Asociación para la Cooperación y Desarrollo Comunal (CORDES) de El Salvador, a non-governmental institution founded near the end of the civil war. CORDES is dedicated to stepping in and working to solve economic, educational and community health problems unaddressed by the government, particularly in the rural areas hit hardest by the conflict. Projects range from opening access to clean drinking water to building schools and community libraries.
The school we visited was located in San José Asuchío, a rural community in the mountains northwest of San Salvador on the road to Santa Ana. 400 children live in this area, but according to the parents and staff we talked to, the ARENA government has not met their needs. In response, they’ve found ways themselves to fill the gaps. CORDES has been one of those mechanisms.
San José Asuchío did not have direct access to clean drinking water until 2006; CORDES worked with the community to make access possible. CORDES also provides funding to their school. But CORDES is working in 5 of El Salvador’s districts (states), and can not do it all alone. For instance, San José Asuchío’s Centro de Atención y Desarrollo Infantil (Child Care and Development Center) services 26 children whose parents pay a symbolic $2 for enrollment. The Center would like to accept more children, but it doesn’t have the money to hire another full-time teacher to handle a larger student population.
The children of this school welcomed us with thank you letters and songs. We toured their classroom and their library, and took lots of pictures. Sitting with me in this photo are Michelle (left) and Damaris (right). Michelle’s favorite activity in school is reading, and Damaris loves to draw. They are both very good singers.
The parents here are willing to work hard; they’ve already proved that. What they want now is a government that will support their hard work and fulfill its own responsibilities to the public. They believe that an FMLN government will do all this, and so, on election day – they day after we met them – they travelled four hours on foot to Zaragoza to cast their votes. Now that the FMLN has won, they hope to see all the positive changes they’ve hoped for – and they are excited to work with their new government to make those changes happen.
The sponsor of our delegation, the Salvadoran American Leadership and Educational Fund (SALEF) is a non-partisan, non-profit, non-governmental institution. SALEF supports this school through financial donations. If you would like to support it as well, please feel free to contact SALEF.