A soy workshop at a child development centre in El Salvador is not only providing income generation opportunities for Compassion assisted students, it’s a gateway to help them achieve their dreams.

From the age of four, Kevin has attended his local Compassion child development centre. For 14 years Kevin has enjoyed food baskets, school supplies, medical attention and a variety of other benefits that come from being a sponsored child. But there is one thing above the rest that continues to draw Kevin’s undivided attention: the soy workshop.

The soy workshop began at Salim Child Development Centre as part of a critical intervention to provide students with income generating skills. In this workshop, students learn everything related to the manufacturing and production of soy and the preparation of soy-related products. On top of this, they are taught marketing and sales techniques in order to sell the soy products for a profit from the shop front at the child development centre. They learn business management techniques so they know how to manage and handle their own business in the future.

From the soy workshop, the students produce the following products: horchata, soy horchata, barley, soy barley, shake mixes and soy powder.

“We don’t want the children to be on the streets,” says Centre Director Nuvia de Avila. “That’s why we teach them discipline, so they can have a job and move forward.”

The Soy Workshop photo 3

After the initial investment made into the workshop where the centre staff acquired all the materials and machinery needed, the soy workshop is now completely self-sustaining.

In addition to having soy-related products added to the menu at the centre, the children participating in the soy workshop have the opportunity to receive an income stream from the products they make and sell at the child development centre. Their earnings are deposited into personal savings accounts so the children can access the funds for future university education.

Kevin, now 18, is just one of the students at the centre who is preparing for his future through the workshop. Once a month Kevin works at the soy workshop where he continues to learn about the nutritional value of soy. As a young teenager, Kevin started losing weight and was discovered to be anaemic. He began consuming the soy supplements he makes, mixing a tablespoon of soy horchata or soy barley into water or milk and drinking a couple of glasses each day. This helped Kevin regain his weight and health.

The Soy Workshop photo 1

Kevin has found a new hope at the centre and in the workshop. He knows when he graduates from high school that he’s going to be able to study business management at university. By trusting in God, and with support of his family, Kevin says he will be able to live a life free from poverty, thanks to savings he’s made through the soy workshop.

“With the money I have saved working at the soy workshop at the centre, I want to enter university,” says Kevin. “I know that with help from God, and with the help of the child development centre, I am going to fulfil my goals.”

Give to the Income Generation Critical Need and help to bring about lasting change in communities just like Kevin's.

Words by David Cuchillas, Nora Díaz and Monique Wallace

Photos by Nora Díaz

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