Hola from El Salvador - Getting Started!

Hi, my name is Jana and I am conducting case studies on innovative approaches to development in Ciudad Delgado, an impoverished community in El Salvador. These studies are sponsored by the Conflict and Development Foundation (CDF) and Texas A&M University’s Conflict and Development Center (ConDev). I will be working at a non-profit organization, Shelter the Homeless International Projects (SHIP). I will be providing weekly updates to share this wonderful experience with all of you.

 So far, my arrival in El Salvador has gone smoothly. I traveled with a small group, and it’s hard to believe we’re getting started! We arrived late Tuesday night, and it went off without a hitch - with the exception of one of our bags not making it until Thursday morning. We were met at the airport by some of SHIP’s staff and taken to the SHIP El Salvador facility, where we quickly unloaded and got settled. Wednesday began with a bang as we cleaned and organized.

 The women’s center opened on Wednesday afternoon and will open again on Friday, which are its regular days of operation. I spent some time with Raquel, who runs the women’s center, and saw a small portion of what SHIP provides for the single mothers in the community to make money.  It’s an amazing experience to watch as the women are screened for the process, sort through the various items available for resale, and then take the items back into the community to sell.

 Every afternoon, the neighborhood children arrive at the facility after school for tutoring and school work. They come through the facility based on their age, and they sit with the tutors and others to work on their schoolwork. It’s such a sight to see all the children working on their schoolwork and not only doing their work, but enjoying it also. My Spanish is slowly progressing, and I’m picking up quite a bit of their studies. A lot of the children’s work is project oriented, and it’s fun to see the children putting together the things they’re learning in school.

 My experiences this week have been amazing as plans progress and work in an orderly fashion. Here at SHIP El Salvador, they've initiated many different opportunities to allow work for some of the families in the surrounding communities, and SHIP is working towards investing in these same families to help improve their lives. 

 Women gathered at SHIP discussing entrepreneurial opportunities that help them earn income to alleviate poverty and hunger. 

Women gathered at SHIP discussing entrepreneurial opportunities that help them earn income to alleviate poverty and hunger.