Latest update

El Salvador has been considered one of the most dangerous countries for a child to live in. The COVID-19 pandemic, ongoing natural disasters and perpetual gang violence have all contributed to an increase in poverty and displacement in El Salvador, especially for families and children in rural areas.

Compassion's local church partners in El Salvador continue to offer contextualised holistic support to children in poverty. To abide by local guidelines during the pandemic, many centres have supported children through home-cased care rather than large group gatherings. Since the beginning of the pandemic, more than 657,100 food packs and over 378,000 hygiene kits have been distributed to families in poverty.

Watch the video update below to learn more about Compassion's work in El Salvador.

READ MOREkeyboard_arrow_down READ LESSkeyboard_arrow_up

Country update

How is Compassion currently operating in El Salvador?

  • Are Compassion centres open?

    During ther COVID-19 pandemic, many child development centres in El Salvador are meeting with children and youth in small group settings or through home visits rather than large gatherings.

  • Are children receiving letters?

    Letters continue to be delivered in El Salvador, however they may be delayed due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. We encourage you to keep sending your sponsored child letters of encouragement and hope. What a joyful day it will be when those letters are delivered!

  • Are gifts being delivered?

    Gifts continue to be distributed in El Salvador. Staff members have been given the option to disburse monetary gifts to an appropriate, verified caregiver, if necessary. This applies to family gifts and child gifts (including birthday and final gifts). Families may spend the gift on whatever they consider most important to meet family needs. The caregiver will decide the best use of the money, recognising that sometimes purchasing food or paying rent is in the best interest of a child.

How you can pray

Thank you for praying for children, families and our local church partners in El Salvador.

Please join us in praying for the following:

  • Pray that God would give peace to Ariana and her family as she prepares for surgery.
  • Pray for wisdom for Sugey’s doctors as they seek the best treatment to allow her to walk.
  • Pray for healing and provision for Erick who requires elbow surgery.
  • Pray that Ricardo will find the right medical support to treat his heart condition.
  • Pray for comfort and healing for Darlyn as she recovers from third-degree burns.
  • Pray that God would give wisdom and discernment to local leaders as they make decisions.
  • Pray for an end to ongoing gang violence in El Salvador. Pray God's peace and protection over El Salvadorian children.
Much-needed meals for El Salvador

Much-needed meals for El Salvador

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought a lot of struggle to El Salvador. Many parents have lost their income and government-imposed quarantines have meant that vulnerable children registered with Compassion’s Child Sponsorship Program are unable to attend their centres, leaving them without their guaranteed one meal per day. That is, until a cook and a baker from a local child development centre decided to step in.   Read more open_in_new

info

Please note: Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, some child development centres in El Salvador are supporting children through smaller group gatherings or home visits.

A snapshot of Compassion's Child Sponsorship Program in El Salvador

Compassion’s program is contextualised across countries and communities, as well as age groups.

  • Children aged 1 to 3 receive home-based care.
  • Children aged 3 to 11 visit the Compassion centre for three hours a day, three days a week.
  • Children aged 12 to 14 attend the centre twice a week for two hours.
  • Students aged 15 and older attend the centre for four hours a day, once a week.
icon

Compassion Program Activities in El Salvador

arrow down

Compassion assisted children in El Salvador typically attend program activities at their local child development centre before and after school. Here is an example of what a typical program day looks like for children in El Salvador.

Devotional time - Children are taught to pray.

Spiritual lessons - Children sing songs and learn Bible stories.

Break and snack time - Children can play in a safe environment and develop friendships.

Social-emotional lessons - Children learn conflict resolution skills and how to develop healthy self-esteem and a godly character. Children often come from challenging home environments and are taught social and personal skills.

Lunch and social time - Children generally receive a nutritious meal every time they go to the centre. A typical meal consists of some type of carbohydrate, such as bread or tortillas, and protein such as soy, meat or chicken. This can include sandwiches, soup, rice pudding, pupusas (tortilla filled with cheese and beans), or enchiladas. Children who experience malnutrition are provided with additional nutritional support.

Health lessons - Children are taught practical health and hygiene tips.

Letter writing and career planning - Older children work with local staff to identify their strengths and interests, and set goals for their future.

In addition to Compassion’s curriculum, children have opportunities to participate in activities such as camps, drama, football, painting and museum visits. Older students join in vocational training activities such as computer literacy, tailoring, dressmaking, beauty, baking, poultry production, fish farming, silk screening, rabbit farming, and bean, corn and vegetable farming. Parents of Compassion assisted children meet once a month to learn a variety of topics.

The greatest needs impacting children living in poverty in El Salvador

5 in 10

children under 14 years experience violent discipline at home

22.8%

of people live below the poverty line

30%

of rural households lack access to basic sanitation

The smallest and most densely-populated in Central America, El Salvador is still feeling the effects from a civil war that raged from 1980 to 1992. An estimated 75,000 people were killed, thousands disappeared, and more than a million were displaced in a country of only around 6 million people.

Even now, almost 30 years from the war’s end, justice is slow for those who died or lost loved ones. El Salvador President Nayib Bukele recently vetoed a new law that aimed to allow the prosecution of war crimes, saying that it was in reality “an amnesty law” that would allow judges to reduce the sentences of war criminals.

El Salvador also faces a pervasive threat from gangs. While gang-related crime has dropped in recent years, violence is a daily reality for many, and the country has one of the highest homicide rates in the world. This is a major factor, along with ongoing drought and high unemployment, in so many locals fleeing their homes and heading for the US border.

President Nayib Bukele was elected in early 2019 in a strong protest vote against the major parties; the political outsider and former mayor ran on a platform of tackling corruption and swept to power. But the Congress is dominated by traditional party members and it remains to be seen how effective President Bukele’s calls for change will be.

Up to one in three Salvadorans lives in poverty, with about 8.5 per cent of citizens living in extreme poverty, according to the World Bank. Malnutrition is a threat for many children, especially in rural areas where so many families rely on agriculture for their income. Drought has led to widespread crop failures and tropical storms and hurricanes have also caused widespread damage.

Children and young people are also targeted by gangs, particularly in urban areas; many girls are threatened, abused and raped—or simply disappear—while boys are coerced into joining gangs and inducted into a life of crime. Education and graduation rates are low, and those that do persist with their education and graduate can still find it difficult to obtain steady employment.

Yet local churches across the country are at work, serving the children of their communities and sharing a hope more powerful than poverty.

READ MOREkeyboard_arrow_down READ LESSkeyboard_arrow_up
Map

Stories from Compassion around the world

09 Mar, 2015

The Global Impact of Clean Water

While millions of people around the world don’t have access to improved water sources, Compassion is at work to provide clean, safe drinking water for children in Compassion’s programs and their families. .. Read more

14 Mar, 2018

Why Do My Sponsored Child's Letters Sound the Same?

It can be disappointing if your sponsored child hasn’t responded to your questions or even mentioned the letter you sent them. Here’s why this could be happening, plus handy tips to prevent it. .. Read more

12 Apr, 2018

What Possessions Do Children Living in Poverty Treasure Most?

From remote, isolated tribal communities to bustling cities and crowded slums, 10 children in our Child Sponsorship Program share their treasured possessions. These are their beautiful, surprising and funny answers... Read more