As of 2020, poverty affected 26% of El Salvador’s population. This issue of poverty arises from diverse factors, with limited access to education being a prominent one. According to the CIA factbook, more than 10% of those aged 15 and above lack basic reading and writing skills. This constraint hampers citizens’ ability to participate in the economy and secure higher-level jobs.
Additionally, crime poses a significant issue in El Salvador. In 2023, the nation recorded the world’s highest homicide rate at 52.02 murders per 100,000 residents. A major contributor to this alarming statistic is the widespread prevalence of gang activity and associated violence.
Amid these challenges, various charitable organizations are actively working to fight poverty in El Salvador. The dedicated efforts of these organizations are creating tangible positive changes within the country.
6 Poverty-Fighting Charities in El Salvador
- Food for the Poor – One of the charities working to end poverty in El Salvador is Food for the Poor. This nonprofit based in Florida works to provide food, shelter, medicine and other necessities to the impoverished in Latin America and the Caribbean. It has provided significant help to those struggling with hunger in El Salvador. In 2022, the charity provided 3,335 bags of rice, 4,781 packages of beans and other support items. Its goal was to feed 551,524 people, most of whom were elderly or children. In 2021, the organization revitalized 100 schools that educated more than 40,000 students in impoverished areas.
- The Salvadoran American Foundation – The Salvadoran American Foundation (SAF) was founded in 1983 in Miami, by a group passionate about helping the people of El Salvador. It works to improve the livelihood of those suffering from poverty in El Salvador. In addition, it strives to help every resident of the country secure their basic needs. SAF sponsored a program that facilitated the education of 1,200 children, focusing on teaching them English. Students engaged in five hours of weekly instruction to enhance their reading, writing and speaking skills in the language. Among the numerous success stories, one stands out: in 2022, SAF intervened to address rapid weight loss in an infant. By supplying the child’s mother with sufficient food and essential nutrients, the organization enabled her to provide adequate breastfeeding for the baby.
- Fundacion Educando – Another one of the charities working to end poverty in El Salvador is Fundación Educando (FESA). It has been operating in El Salvador for the past 20 years. The group works to transform the lives of youth through sports and education. Through the help of FESA, many of the youths it has instructed have made it to professional sports leagues such as the First Division of El Salvador for soccer and Major League Baseball.
- World Vision – The group’s primary objective is to enhance the lives of individuals in vulnerable situations, particularly children and their families. When emergencies like hurricanes or floods strike El Salvador, the organization swiftly engages in humanitarian responses, offering vital resources such as food, clean water and other essentials to those affected. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the group extended aid to more than 1 million people, distributing food and hygiene kits. Additionally, it highlights that 121,263 individuals have received assistance from its initiatives.
- COAR Peace Mission – The last one of the charities working to end poverty in El Salvador is COAR. Since 1980, COAR has been working to help children in El Salvador. It founded the COAR Children’s Village, where children who are unable to live with their families or have no family can reside. At these homes, children receive food and education and can participate in extracurricular activities such as dance and band. Currently, the school provides residence for more than 1,000 children, from kindergarteners to high schoolers.
- Americares – Americares is an organization that provides health care to vulnerable populations in El Salvador. Americares provides health services to those who cannot access the country’s health care programs. The organization opened the Americares Family Clinic, which provides low-cost medical aid for those on the eastern side of the country. The clinic sees almost 30,000 people every year.
In conclusion, despite the challenges El Salvador faces in eradicating poverty and crime, numerous organizations dedicated to addressing these issues demonstrate that progress is achievable. Positive transformations are actively taking place for many residents in El Salvador.
– Emma Glas