A Safe Learning Environment for Salvadoran Kids

By Jana Stohler, CDF/ConDev Intern

SHIP desires to create the best environment possible for the families living in the surrounding neighborhood. One way they are accomplishing this goal is by sponsoring approximately 15 children, who live in the orphanage located at SHIP’s facility, and 23 neighborhood children to go to a private Christian school that has rigorous standards. The neighborhood children are tested, interviewed, and placed in this program as funds are available. As a requirement of their children attending the school, at least one of the children’s parents has to be a part of their children’s learning, and they come to the center each afternoon to help with the school work and work with their own children.

Many of the children arrive for their tutoring sessions so excited about what they are learning. Where they previously had no options for a quality education, they are now flourishing. Instead of worrying about how their lives will turn out and feeling like things are out of their control, SHIP is giving these children the gift of hope and a way out of the poverty into which they were born. Their education and their future have been melded into one, and they are making great strides in their education.

 I’ve been very impressed to see the work being done by SHIP in this poverty-stricken area. CDF/ConDev seek to engage in research programs that can help identify innovative approaches to global development challenges. SHIP is doing just that by providing quality educational opportunities to deserving children and youth who have been born into poverty through no fault of their own. Thankfully, these children are seizing the opportunity that has been given to them.

 The rest of this week in El Salvador was a bit more relaxing, but that statement requires an explanation. There are always ongoing projects at SHIP El Salvador – always! These projects help to improve the community around SHIP’s facility and provide employment to some of the neighbors. Occasionally, a team from the United States comes to help with the projects, and the activity increases as additional projects begin. That’s what happened last week when a team from a private school in Texas came to help repair and upgrade an 83-year-old woman’s house down the road from SHIP El Salvador. They also hosted Bible school in the morning and afternoon for the children. It was a busy week with a great group of young people who came to serve!

We’ve spent this week cleaning, doing laundry, and continuing the ongoing projects. So, when I say relaxing, I mean that there are less people around but still a lot of activity at the facility. The women vendors from the neighborhood continue to come to SHIP’s women’s center, SHIP Shop South, on Wednesdays and Fridays to purchase products for their businesses. I will be reporting more on that innovative approach to entrepreneurial development in the next few weeks.