News Highlights, women & girls

Imelda es Libre!

December 17, 2018
Jiquilisco, Usulután, El Salvador

Salvadoran judge Hugo Noé García, overturned an attempted murder charge, carrying a 20 year sentence, by the district attorney’s office in Usulután against Imelda Cortez, who then at 19-years-old, experienced a traumatic labor which caused her to loose consciousness and give birth to her baby in a latrine.
 
The baby girl survived and is in good health and Imelda spent 609 days in prison.

Her 71-year-old stepfather, Pablo Dolores Henríquez Ayala, who after 7 years of assaulting her, impregnated her, has been prosecuted for aggravated and continued rape of a minor. This after he himself gave accusatory testimony to the national police about his step-daughter on the day of the incident.

The judge recognized the mental and physical stress Imelda must have endured before, during and after giving birth to the newborn and lamented over the fact that she was denied access to not only her baby but the therapeutic care she desperately needed in order to heal from the long-term psychological damage that had been inflicted on her.

Since it was put forth, the case has been contested in the international court of public opinion and, due to the full-scale feminist movement in El Salvador and beyond, Imelda has receive top-notch legal representation, international media coverage and diplomatic support.

The morning of the 18th, Imelda and her defense team were prepared to accept a reduced sentenced of one year, time served, in exchange for pleading guilty to the prosecution’s lesser change of “abandoning a newborn.” However the judge, in an astonishing move, over-tuned the ruling four hours after the session began.

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Hundreds of supporters gathered outside of the courthouse on Monday to support Imelda and chants of “si se puede!” rang out as she was led out.
 

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Capacity Building, women & girls, Womens issues

Self-Defense for Morazán Women

Watch the Morazán Women’s Network take their first course on self-defense.

This special workshop was giving by Claudia Fuentes, a Salvadoran martial artist who has developed a self-defense program with a feminist approach especially for women and girls in El Salvador.

delegation, education, Youth Development

Technology in the Classroom!

A DREAM COME TRUE.

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We want to extend our sincerest gratitude to last year’s delegation from the Carlos Rosario International Public Charter School in Washington, D.C. for their initiative and generous donation to connect internet in the Centro Escolar Amando Lopez of Jiquilisco in the Bajo Lempa.

VOICES hired a local builder who constructed the 18 meter (59ft) tower and community members installed it. The purpose is to provide educators with the ability to innovate their classes and students the ability to deepen their research.

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Uncategorized

Training Trainers in Sexual and Reproductive Health Education | Part 1

Orientations were held this month for the 60 Bajo Lempa educators and health promoters who will participate in a training and research project offered by an interdisciplinary team of family planning professionals, implementation and monitoring experts from the University of New Mexico. The process began last year when the university team and VOICES collaborated with Salvadoran rural communities to develop a sexual and reproductive health curriculum and training program based on the ECHO model. The Extension for Community Health Care Outcomes (ECHO), is a collaborative model of medical education and care management that promotes a better heath system that is efficient, low-cost, scalable and sustainable. Both parties will connect via videoconferencing.

DSC_1720The ECHO model is based on three educational theories:

  • Social Cognition: affirms that people should believe that there is a benefit in learning a new behavior and they should develop confidence in their ability to perform the behavior.
  • Located Learning: the importance of providing experience, modeled by the student, to develop new skills, while participating in their interests and simplifying tasks.
  • Community Practice: emphasizes learning through continued participation in a collaborative community of peer students and expert individuals.

The absence of comprehensive sexual and reproductive health education has profound consequences that lead to high rates of teenage pregnancy, poverty, unsafe abortions, sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and suicide. More than 46% of Salvadoran women have been pregnant by the age of 20, and 40% of pregnancies of women aged 15 to 24 years are involuntary. Adolescent mothers reach lower levels of education and experience high rates of poverty, while their babies are at increased risk of low birth weight, developmental delays, malnutrition and death. These problems are exacerbated in rural areas where access to health resources is low and poverty is common.

In 2012, the Ministry of Health, recognizing a deficiency, prioritized education in Sexual and Reproductive Health. Unfortunately, the curriculum currently being used in schools is limited and inaccurate. only 5.5% of teachers have been trained in it and many religious groups have blocked it from disseminating it effectively.

 

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ECHO project goals:

  • Establish the effectiveness of delivering a sexual and reproductive health curriculum.
  • Successfully incorporate the curriculum into Bajo Lempa schools reaching nearly 3,000 students.
  • Generate recognition and understanding of the model among civil society and national agencies.

VOICES is proud to partner with the university of New Mexico on this important project.
Follow us here to receive updates about the progress.

human rights, International Relations, migration, U.S. Relations

Thousands of Migrants March Towards Saftey

S2AAFCGVLAI6RA5C2HB5UKGWWY_103943202_migrants_caravan_route_4_640-ncOn October 13, 1,500 Honduran refugees began the long arduous journey from one of the most violent capital cities in the world in search of respite and peace. The majority of those seeking a chance for survival were young people, women and their babies.

Pueblo Sin Fronteras or People without Borders, who organized the foot march says the aim is to draw attention to the plight facing the migrants at home and the dangers they run during their attempts to reach safety in the US.

Every single migrant had his or her own personal reason for fleeing. For some, especially the young people, it was direct threats or acts of violence towards themselves or their loved ones. For others, it was the oppressive Honduran government that has been opposing people’s justice movements, or it was the fear of what would become of their children because of unemployment and starvation.

Two days later on October 15th, the caravan had grown to an estimated 3,500 by the time it reached the Guatemalan border.

Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua all belong to a migratory convention called The Central America-4 Free Mobility Agreement (CA-4), it is akin to the Schengen agreement in Europe, which allows nationals from 26 countries in the Schengen area to legally enter and reside in each other’s countries. Though this agreement exists, officials in Guatemala and El Salvador have met the caravan with hostility and armed suppression.

Citizens of Honduras and other Centro American countries have been paying the price of U.S. foreign policy atrocities since the beginning of the cold war, with their lives and that of their loved ones. Since the 2009 Honduran coup d’état that put economic elites in charge of the most important sectors of society, the country has been on a never-ending binge of oppression and violence. While this instability has no doubt strengthened the rise of gang violence in the streets, the government’s own tactics of extrajudicial killings, forced disappearances, protest suppression and the jailing of political prisoners have added to the upheaval happening at this very moment.

On Sunday October 21, as the 7,000 person strong caravan reached the Mexican border of Tapachula in the State of Chiapas, Donald Trump fired off a series of tweets, expressing anger towards central american governments inability to halt the progression of the foot march.

“Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador were not able to do the job of stopping people from leaving their country and coming illegally to the U.S. We will now begin cutting off, or substantially reducing, the massive foreign aid routinely given to them,” Trump wrote.

An estimated 258 million people, approximately 3 per cent of the world’s population, currently live outside their country of origin, many of whose migration is characterized by varying degrees of compulsion. Migration is a fundamental human right. We have no right to forbid or stigmatise, we only have the power to try to do so.

Follow the stories: #CaravanaMigrante

News Highlights, romero

Archbishop Oscar Arnulfo Romero has been Raised to Sainthood

October 14th, 2018
A crowd of 70,000 faithful huddled in St. Peters Square witnessed as Pope Francis elevated Oscar Arnulfo Romero to Sainthood. Among them were five thousand Salvadorans who made the pilgrimage to Vatican City to venerate their prophet, El Salvador’s cherished archbishop who was martyred (español) by the Salvadoran army on March 24, 1980.

The Pope, wearing the blood-stained rope belt that Romero wore when he was shot, also bestowed sainthood to Pope Paul VI, Nazaria Ignacia of Saint Teresa of Jesus, Francesco Spinelli, Vincenzo Romano and Mary Caterina Kasper and Nunzio.

Across El Salvador, and in many latin American countries, tens of thousands held vigils and over the night watched the Mass live on giant TV screens in public squares.

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Romero, after witnessing the constant repression by the Salvadoran government towards its own people, preached nonviolence and denounced injustices, amid an escalating civil war that would go on to displace over 1,000,000 Salvadorans and cost the lives of an estimated 80,000 people.

Cecilia Flores de Rivas is recognized by the highest authorities of the Catholic Church as the living miracle that allows the canonization of Archbishop Romero.


Click here for the full coverage including transcripts.