NPH El Salvador Brings Hope and Provisions to Vulnerable Communities
Inspired by our founder’s philosophy, NPH El Salvador helps hermanos mayores, community families, and those caring for vulnerable groups during the nationwide COVID-19 quarantine.
May 5, 2020 - El Salvador
In the NPH family, serving others is a key value of the legacy of Father William Wasson, founder of Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos. From our beginning in 1954 until today, NPH homes strive to support the most vulnerable members of society, especially in times of crisis like the current COVID-19 pandemic. The effects of lockdowns around the globe, however, have hit hardest among the most vulnerable and the very poorest. El Salvador is no different.
The population of the Central American country is just over 6.4 million. According to World Bank, as of 2017, 29 percent of Salvadorans live in poverty surviving on US$5.50 a day and 8.5 percent live in extreme poverty on US$3.20 per day. Many of them struggle to put food on the family table on a day-to-day basis through informal jobs like farmwork or selling things in the street.
To curb the spread of COVID-19, the Salvadoran government imposed a 30-day mandatory nationwide home quarantine starting 22 March, which effectively cut off the livelihood of many workers and left many parents wondering how they would feed their families.
This was the case for many hermanos mayores (older brothers and sisters) at NPH El Salvador, who found themselves suddenly not able to leave their house or work. Stepping up to the challenge, the NPH El Salvador Community Service and Social Work teams came together and began delivering boxes of provisions to 24 hermanos mayores and their families, plus other families in the community.
Neftali Leivas, community service coordinator and an hermano mayor himself, worked closely with National Director Dora Serrano to gather items. Neftali says, "The driver and I made deliveries. We gave families a basket of essential items, such as rice, beans, sugar, pasta, sardines, cookies, oil, eggs, toilet paper, soap, toothpaste, etc., that should last two months."
The food basket is part of the regular program supporting hermanos mayores, usually containing one month’s supply of items. For families that live far away, Neftali drops the supplies at a common location where adult pequeños then come to retrieve the baskets. This time, however, to ensure the hermanos mayores did not put their health at risk or get in trouble with the authorities, the baskets were delivered directly to their homes.
"We know that not all people face the same challenges during quarantine. Many of our older brothers and sisters are having difficulty coping with the situation, so helping them and showing that we care is one way to encourage them to carry on. They know they can count on us as members of the NPH family. We look out for each other," Neftali explains.
What’s more, help has been extended to other places that care for vulnerable groups. Nursing homes, rehab facilities, and public dining halls that feed people living on the street have received donations of beans, rice, and sugar from NPH El Salvador.
"At NPH, we understand that when you reach out and touch a heart or a life, the world changes. These acts of kindness and service, seen or invisible, fulfill our purpose—our mission," concludes Neftali.
NPH El Salvador strives to bring hope and light to the dark circumstances of many Salvadorans today. NPH continues to share what it has by helping the most vulnerable through support received from generous people around the globe.
Father Wasson’s words still inspire us: "It is surprising what you can do in a lifetime if you do it a little at a time."
Please support our NPH homes during this time of need. Any help you can give is well received and accepted graciously. Please visit nph.org for more information.
Communications Officer, NPH El Salvador