Giving Tuesday

Last week was Thanksgiving followed by Black Friday and yesterday was Cyber Monday. The last few years, the Tuesday after Thanksgiving has been named "Giving Tuesday." Most of us here at SEW don't get too excited about Black Friday and Cyber Monday but we do like the sounds of Giving Tuesday.

We're coming up on the end of the year and thinking toward next year. Over the past 12 years, we've helped dozens of women start 18 businesses ranging from bakeries to sewing operations to a distribution center. Those businesses and the workshops the business owners have attended have had a hugely positive impact on the lives of these women. But all of this work requires money. We have a very lean budget and big successes and more plans. Please consider making a donation to SEW today.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tnlr7C_m2u0&feature=youtu.be

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Violence Against Women

Even in 2015, when great strides have been made towards gender equality, machismo culture provides a framework by which Salvadoran women navigate their lives.

One of the most terrifying ways machismo manifests, however, is in alarmingly high rates of violence against women.

“Violence against women,” of course, is a vague term that necessitates exact definition.

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The Trouble with TPP

El Salvador is a tiny country about the size of Massachusetts. During its 12 year civil war, the United States sent $1.4 million of the tax-payers money to this Central American country each day to support the right wing Salvadoran government and its armed forces. Oscar Romero asked President Jimmy Carter in 1980 to stop sending military aid to El Salvador because “it is being used to kill our people.” Peace finally came to El Salvador in 1992. Neither side won. The United Nations termed it “a negotiated revolution.”

It would be fair to say that the United States had and continues to have a significant investment in peace in El Salvador. Two million Salvadorans now reside in the United States.

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Let's Talk Demographics

In order to understand the work that SEW does, it is important to understand the context in which SEW women live and work. El Salvador is a country of 6,218,000 people. It is one of the most densely populated countries in the Western Hemisphere.

El Salvador has an extremely high emigration rate. Since the beginning of the civil war, over a million people have migrated. This pattern continued even after the war ended; since 1992, the emigration rate has remained extremely high. In fact, about 20% of El Salvador’s GDP comes from remittances that emigrants send to their families back home.

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All Saints Day

The beginning of November is a contemplative time. The weather is cooling, the hustle and bustle of summer is over, the end of year craziness hasn't quite picked up. 

This week, many people recognize All Saints Day and All Souls Day, a time to think about those people who have impacted us and the world and to be thankful for the saints who walk and have walked among us.

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Women's Participation in Politics

This year’s heated presidential campaign season is provoking an important dialogue about women in the political sphere. Hillary Clinton’s gender, and the way the public reacts to it, serves as a catalyst to provoke conversations about gender disparities within our government.

Not including Delegates, women currently hold 84 (19.3%) seats in the House of Representatives and 20 (20%) seats in the Senate, totaling 104 (19.4%) of the 535 voting seats in the 114th Congress. Women are 50.8% of the nation’s population.

In this way, America and El Salvador are similar. Though women make up about 53% of El Salvador’s population, they are about 27% of the legislature.

One can find many parallels between the histories of female leadership in the United States and El Salvador.

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News Fresh from El Salvador!

Good morning -- below is the monthly email update that was sent this morning! Not on our email list? Sign up!

Happy August! We hope you're staying cool out there! We've got some SEW updates for you here, fresh from El Salvador!

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A Salvadoran Woman

I have always admired the strength of the women that have surrounded me. In particular, whenever I visited my family in El Salvador, I would marvel at the wisdom, courage, and composure of Salvadoran women as they go along their daily living in the face of hardships, which included poverty and lack of basic human needs such as water, threat of violence, lack of education and jobs.

A few years ago, I was given the opportunity to interview 10 Salvadoran immigrant women in the United States. I was curious to find out what it meant to them to be a Salvadoran woman, some of them were very surprised, and stated that she had never thought about it. One woman, Francisca*, a mother of two, said, “I never thought about what it means to me to be a Salvadoran woman.”

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Marina's Story

Marina.JPG

A note from Sister Marie:
Marina is one of founders of SEW´s Sewing Cooperative, Párajo Flor, in Suchitoto. She is a single 51 year old woman with four years of formal education and 5 children. She told us her story:

When we first came together, I knew nothing about sewing or dyeing clothing. We were embroidering little pieces of cloth. We had no machine. Eventually we made a small tablecloth. We made big sacrifices to travel here; we didn't had economic resources.

Later, when we connected with the CIS/SEW, we had business trainings and trainings about our dignity as women.We began to move forward.

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Meditations on Immigration

It was only my second trip driving from from Silver Spring to Baltimore to bring undocumented immigrants to Immigration Court or to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement building. Each time I learned a little bit more about an issue that is political in nature to many Americans and certainly to most Presidential hopefuls; but for me was something far more than the political rhetoric of our day.  My experience was about human beings seeking safety from oppression, human beings struggling with systems that unnecessarily demeaned them and human beings trying to restore wholeness to broken family relationships.

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