Poverty in El Salvador is high; in 2015 it was measured that 34.9 percent of the population lives below the poverty line. Comparatively, 15.1 percent of the population of the United States lives below the poverty line.
Poverty is high in El Salvador due to the remnants of its violent civil war from 1979 to 1992. Although a truce was agreed to, tensions between the communist rebel movement and the conservative government remain, which has led to the growth of violent street gangs. El Salvador has the highest murder rate in the world (excluding countries at war) due to the activities of its gangs. Violence and instability have created increased poverty within El Salvador.
People in the United States can help citizens in El Salvador. Many Salvadorans have fled to other countries – including the United States – due to the violence in their homeland. American citizens can help Salvadoran refugees by donating to The UN Refugee Agency’s Children on the Run campaign. This campaign is specifically aimed at providing shelter, education and physical and mental care for children and families fleeing the violence in El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala. Donations can be made through UNHCR’s website.
Save the Children works within El Salvador to help improve the quality of living for Salvadorans. Through Save the Children, one can sponsor a child from early childhood through to early adulthood. The program supports children throughout their education by providing specialized programmings, such as early literacy programs for toddlers and life-skills programs for adolescents. Save the Children also provides families with seeds and livestock that they need for survival, and tools and temporary jobs to give them an income and teach them new skills. Donating to this cause is a great way to help the people, especially children, of El Salvador.
More hands-on approaches can be used to help people in El Salvador as well. Volunteer opportunities are abundant through a variety of organizations. One such organization is Help International. Help International works on an assortment of projects including building community centers, running outreach programs to assist at-risk youth and reforestation campaigns. One can apply to participate in Help International’s El Salvador program through their website.
Finally, simply sharing this information with friends and family and brainstorming ways you can help can go a long way in helping the people of El Salvador overcome poverty.
– Mary Kate Luft