Poverty in El Salvador is a primary cause of many problems affecting many Salvadoran families, such as malnutrition, illiteracy, and school dropout. Research indicates that a root cause of poverty is the lack of access to education. Many people in the country’s rural areas lack the means to access educational opportunities or to finish their studies. This is why many Salvadorans are unable to qualify for well-paid jobs, and the cycle of poverty they were born into is repeated.
A 2022 study by the Central American University of El Salvador highlights that “poverty is strongly linked to low educational level. While among 25-year-olds who have not completed primary education poverty amounts to 37%, among those who have not completed secondary education it is 16%. And if they have any year of university, poverty drops to 5%”. This study focused on families in rural areas of El Salvador.
Providing access to an adequate education is critical for people in need. This is why Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos El Salvador (NPH El Salvador) supports families in vulnerable communities in the city of Santa Ana.
NPH El Salvador changes lives with its educational programs.
Since a lack of access to education often continues the cycle of poverty, NPH El Salvador provides quality education for children and youth in vulnerable situations. By receiving a good education, young people can acquire the right tools needed to discover their talents and develop fully. To achieve this, several educational programs were begun in 2017, starting with the Centro de Bienestar Infantil or CBI [Child Welfare Center].
The CBI provides initial education to children from eight months to six years of age. Under this methodology, the beneficiaries learn the basics of education and then move on to the next educational program, the Becas Comunitarias Padre Wasson [Padre Wasson Community Scholarships] (BCPW).
The BCPW covers an education from first to ninth grade, during which they attend the NPH school facilities Monday through Friday. All program participants face some situation of vulnerability that would deny them access to schooling without the support of NPH. This opportunity empowers the beneficiaries with the ability to build a better future for themselves, their families, and their communities.
Families writing a new story
The Torres family is one of those benefiting from these NPH educational programs. Mrs. Wendy Magaly, the mother of the family, is an example of the struggle that NPH supports. The father is a day laborer and the mother is a housewife who helps with planting. This couple has 5 children, 3 of whom attend school at NPH El Salvador. They are Mayte*, an 8-year-old in third grade; 16-year-old Maria* who attends ninth grade, and Sara*, who is 18 and studying in eighth grade. The three sisters receive different benefits in the program they belong to. These are given to them to help them fulfill their potential and achieve their dreams.
The scholarship includes school supplies, uniforms, and food (breakfast, lunch, and two snacks a day), plus basic medical and psychological care. All of this is thanks to the funding from sponsors who generously give donations that help others continue to prepare for a successful independent life.
The Impact of NPH
Wendy Magaly assures us that the opportunity NPH offers her daughters is unique and that they look forward to benefiting from it. She also expresses her gratitude to God for the work of NPH, and for the education and quality care provided to her girls. Wendy also emphasizes that they receive medical attention that would be unavailable to them anywhere else. “Something important is that they receive workshops after their classes, something that helps my daughters a lot. We are a very poor family and I thank God for opening the doors of NPH to us,” Wendy affirmed.
The Torres family’s story is an example of self-improvement and also of how NPH deals with the consequences of poverty in El Salvador. The families of El Salvador need to break the cycle of poverty they find themselves in, and the alternatives such as those offered by NPH offer many families a chance at a better life. Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos is carrying on the legacy of its founder, Father William Wasson, who stated that “education will lift my children out of the poverty into which they were born”. To help achieve this goal, NPH continues to empower its beneficiaries through various educational, health, and social initiatives.
There is still so much yet to be done, which is why we invite you to learn more about the various programs being carried out by NPH at www.nph.org/el-salvador. Together, we can make great changes for Salvadoran families!
*Names changed for privacy reasons.