One Woman's Story

Alicia had a good job working with a non-profit that provides empowerment training and education for mostly women and children in small communities. She is married and has a four year old daughter. For the last year, Alicia was working in a community where a gang was in charge. She knew they were watching her and was frightened.

Last month, some of the gang members were arrested and put in jail. The gang contacted her and said they wanted her to testify that the men in prison were good people or they would kill her. Alicia was so frightened that she took her daughter and found a coyote who helped her and a group of others get across the Rio Grande at night in inflatable boats. She was picked up by ICE in McAllen, Texas.

Read more
Share

Just water?

As we prepare ourselves to become fully entrenched in “summer mode,” I have begun to make preparations of the things my family will need this year, which includes, sun screen, insect repellent, swimsuits, lounge chairs, and water bottles.

We often look for water, an essential resource especially during these hot summer months. I realized how this natural resource is taken for granted in our daily lives, yet it is crucial for our existence.

Read more
Share

Gold Mining in El Salvador

Last month, despite outcries from leftist government officials, environmental advocacy organizations across the globe and even condemnation from bishops in the Catholic Church, the Salvadoran legislature voted against an amendment that would declare clean water a basic human right. Though the proposition has been introduced once more, and the next legislature will vote on it in a few months, the Salvadoran government will need to dedicate itself wholly to the people, not mining corporations, if it wishes to save the water it has left.

sewgoldminingpic.png

In March, Sisters Anne Marie and Marie met a Salvadoran anti-mining activist at a service commemorating Oscar Romero at American University.

Read more
Share

Peace and Gangs

In May, the Washington Post reported that El Salvador is on pace to become the hemisphere’s most deadly nation. A 2012 government-supported truce between the two most powerful gangs, MS-13 and 18th Street, disintegrated in 2014 because neither the government nor the gangs maintained their commitments under the negotiated agreement. Since the truce crumbled, violence has surged; more than 1800 people have been killed this year. The Guardian recently reported that El Salvador broke a grim record in May with 635 homicides – the most killings for a single month since the country’s civil war ended in 1992. That translates to about 20 people killed per day in the month of May, and underreporting is suspected.

Read more
Share

Hello from SEW's New Intern

Hello, all! My name is Emily Birnbaum and I am the new Communications Intern for Salvadoran Enterprises for Women. This summer, I will be assisting with blog upkeep, social media activity and development work. 

Read more
Share

The Beatification of Oscar Romero

romeropic4.jpegMonseñor Oscar Romero has been called San (Saint) Romero and San Romero of the Americas by many since his assassination on March 24, 1980.

During the ruthless years of the late 70s in El Salvador, military death squads terrorized and killed those seeking an end to poverty, civil rights for all citizens and military reforms. Romero was archbishop of El Salvador during those conflict-ridden years. At their invitation, Romero visited communities in the city as well as distant rural villages; he saw the extreme poverty and heard the horrific stories of targeted homicides and of those who were taken and never heard from again—the “disappeared.”

Read more
Share

Why SEW is Successful

This is taken from a series of articles by Patrice Flynn (a member of the SEW board from 2003 - 2014) based on her visits to SEW projects in May and June of 2011. This is also a separate page on our site that you can find here.

Since 2003, SEW has been engaged in microenterprise development in El Salvador to enable women to start businesses, earn a little money, and care for their children with dignity. Dreams are being realized: women are developing valuable skills, running small businesses, selling homemade products, earning a profit, and gaining respect in the community! SEW is a good news story.

Why is SEW so successful? Below are some of the many reasons.

Reason #1: Partnership with the CIS

Success rests in large measure on the unique collaboration between SEW and CIS (Centro de Intercambio y Solidaridad), an NGO that has become a trusted gathering place for community organizers who work together to analyze political, social and economic conditions in the country, promote peace- building and cultural sensitivity, facilitate training sessions, teach/learn Spanish and English, observe national elections, promote SEW businesses, and much more. Leslie Schuld, the CIS director since 1993, is a beloved community leader.

Staff members at the CIS know the reality on-the-ground and can indicate when and where women are ready to initiate a new business. The US-based SEW staff and board rely upon the experience and credibility of the CIS staff in an effort to demonstrate the kind of partnership we see is necessary to help people in the developing world realize their aspirations.

Read more
Share

Board Member Tom Howarth Visits El Salvador

I travelled to El Salvador with Scott Wright, the director of the Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach, last November to observe the 25th anniversary of the UCA martyrs: the six Jesuit priests and their two women co-workers that were murdered on November 16, 1989.

Read more
Share

Where Have All The Children Gone?

Last year at this time, there was a surge of unaccompanied youngsters coming across the U.S. southern border from what has been termed the Northern Triangle, referring to El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. These countries were and are known for their growing gang violence. Honduras has been the murder capital of the world for several years now. San Pedro Sula in the north holds that same title as a city.
An editorial writer for El Salvador's daily newspaper La Prensa Grafica (June 29, 2014) describes that journey as one fraught with dangers, the destination as one full of rejection, and the life of an immigrant without papers as one full of sorrow to the highest degree. "Why embark on such a journey?" the writer queries. The response seems to be, "Because there is the possibility of survival and the alternative is to face certain death at the hands of the gangs in their country." Once across the border, they can tell an immigration official that they have a credible fear of death if they return home. There is hope for asylum and most of all, reunification with a parent.
However, the Baltimore Sun paper recently reported that there is no longer a surge of minors crossing into the U.S. So, where are they? On a recent trip to El Salvador, my friend and I discovered that  these children and adults are still heading north for the same reasons. 
Read more
Share

Happy Mother's Day

May 10th is Mother’s Day in El Salvador, as well as in the United States.  I could not help but think of how the women of the Americas look to Mary, mother of Jesus, as the model for their lives. Not the medieval portrayals of Mary as blonde, blue eyed and elegantly dressed, but Mary a peasant woman from simple, rural  circumstances, like themselves, who dealt with suffering and poverty. Elizabeth Johnson describes a Mary with whom the mothers of Latin America can identify through the scripture story of the wedding feast at Cana at which the hosts ran out of wine.

Read more
Share