Latest update

In October 2023, a national state of emergency was declared when Tropical Storm Pilar hit El Salvador. Hundreds of people had to evacuate, and multiple landslides and fallen trees have caused damage to people's homes. Unfortunately, flooding has also had a devastating effect on crops. Caregivers who rely on agricultural or fishing activities for their income have been struggling to meet their families' needs. Our local church partners are providing food packs, clothing and essential hygiene supplies to the affected families.

El Salvador is one of the most dangerous countries in the world for a child to live. Gang violence and homicide are commonplace, and UNICEF reports that one in two children under 14 experience violent discipline at home.

Our local church partners are caring for children and youth by finding creative ways for them to continue their education, including supporting them to get to school safely. With your support, local Compassion centres are ensuring children are provided with enough food to foster their holistic development.

Watch the video update below from our church partners in El Salvador to learn more.

READ MOREkeyboard_arrow_down READ LESSkeyboard_arrow_up

Country update

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 for families whose homes or livelihoods were devastated by Tropical Storm Pilar. Ask for God to bless our local church partners as they assist with relief and recovery efforts.
  • Pray that children, families and staff will be kept safe amid frequent natural disasters.
  • Pray that God will continue to make a way for children to receive an education.
  • 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 vulnerable children.
  • Pray for God's provision over families affected by the global food crisis. Ask that children will receive the nutritional support they need to grow strong and healthy.
The sound of hope in El Salvador

The sound of hope in El Salvador

Weslin got an ear infection when he was just 4 years old and suffered pain and hearing loss. His family couldn’t afford to take him to a specialist in the capital city, and in their small town of Pañanalapa there were no doctors or clinics that could help them. Finally, an opportunity for which Weslin’s family had desperately prayed came to change their lives—Weslin was registered at his local Compassion centre.   Read more open_in_new

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.

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


children under 14 years old experience violent discipline at home


of people live in extreme poverty

El Salvador is the smallest and most densely populated country in South America. The coastal nation is still recovering from a 12-year civil war that ended in 1992 and cost over 70,000 lives. Thousands more disappeared and more than a million were displaced in a country of only around 6 million people. Even now, over 30 years from the war’s end, justice is slow for those who died or lost loved ones.

El Salvador also faces a pervasive threat from gangs, with children and youth especially vulnerable to coercion and threats. Though gang-related crime and homicide rates have dropped in recent years, violence is a daily reality for many. 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. His crackdown on gang violence has been controversial, as it has led to a sharp decline in El Salvador's homicide rate but has meant human rights infringements for many locals. Despite this, there is still widespread support for President Bukele as people are desperate for safer streets.

A good education and adequate nutrition are crucial to securing healthy futures for children. Yet two-thirds of youth do not complete high school and 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 crop failures and tropical storms and hurricanes have also caused widespread damage.

Yet local churches across the country are at work, protecting vulnerable children, meeting their holistic needs, and sharing the love and hope of Jesus.

READ MOREkeyboard_arrow_down READ LESSkeyboard_arrow_up

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 and their families living in poverty. .. 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