agriculture, Climate Change, Corruption, Economy, El Salvador Government

Carlos Rosario School Returns to El Salvador with New Delegates

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Voices had the pleasure of hosting a delegation from Carlos Rosario, a public charter school for adult immigrants in Washington, D.C. Seven of their staff came down to El Salvador, where a majority of students are from, in order to learn about the country and better understand their students’ roots. The delegates’ objective was to explore the broad reality of Salvadoran culture, economics and education as well as the dynamic effects that migration has on individuals, families and communities.

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After receiving a detailed explanation of the people’s history of El Salvador, they met with the Vice Minister of Education, Teacher’s Union Leaders, a human rights defender, visited the National Cathedral, the UCA, toured the Museum of Words and Images and bought a lot of good reads at Equipo Maiz. Then they traveled to Morazán where they talked with the pastoral team of Community Segundo Montes about the 9 years they’d spent in the refugee camps in Colomoncagua, Honduras. They got a thorough overview of the civil war at the Museum of Revolution in Perquin and reflected heavily after visiting El Mozote. In the lower Lempa River region, they stayed with hosts families in Amando Lopez and experienced life in agriculture based communities there and along the coast. They visited with local community leaders and teachers to hear their perspectives on development and education in the region, they donated much needed supplies to three separate schools and before it was all done they taught a class!

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The group was delightful. They asked great questions, covered a lot of ground, offered helpful suggestions, participated in meaningful dialogue and gave a gift to nearly everyone they met.

Carlos Rosario, thank you and keep up the good work in D.C.  |  READ THEIR BLOG!

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Environment, Tourism

Fact-Finding Delegation to El Salvador: Protecting Mangrove Forests and Sea Turtle Nesting Grounds

Tourism DelegationFor more information, please send an email to voices@votb.org

Voices Developments

Stories from the Palo Alto, CA Fundraiser

Last Friday, we posted information about the South Bay Sanctuary Covenant fundraising event being hosted in Palo Alto, CA.  It had a great showing from the local community, and Mark Reedy, the President of our Board of Directors was there to report back to the rest of the Voices’ communities about the event.  Here’s what he said-

“Ninety-nine people came to our spring fundraising event– one of our largest groups ever!  This event featured a presentation and slide show of the March 2011 delegation to El Salvador, a pupusa and enchilada dinner, Latin American music and fair trade crafts sale.  The delegates were ten Stanford University students enrolled in a liberation theology and human rights class, the two Stanford campus ministers who taught the course and nine members of South Bay Sanctuary Covenant (SBSC).  The Rev. Amy Morgenstern of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Palo Alto, a member church of SBSC, served as the emcee.  The Rev. Greg Schaefer of the University Church, another member church, provided a reflection from words spoken by Archbishop Romero.

The program began with the delegation presentation accompanied by a slide show.  Each of the delegates spoke about some part of the delegation itinerary or reflected about an experience during the trip that had touched them deeply.  There were many highlights of the presentation, including participating in a candlelight procession marking the 31st anniversary of Romero’s assassination, learning about the anti-mining movement and struggle against corruption and impunity in Cabañas, and staying in the SBSC partner community of Comunidad Octavio Ortiz (C.O.O.).

Attendees enjoyed the flute, drum and guitar music of Peruvian-born Nayo Ulloa, as well as participating in singing the popular Salvadoran song “Sombrero Azul.”  Near the close of the program, Geoff Browning, one of the Stanford campus ministers and delegation leaders, expressed gratitude to SBSC for inviting the Stanford students and ministers to participate in both the 2010 and 2011 delegations.  As a result, they participated in a powerful bicultural and intergenerational experience of solidarity through interactions with Salvadoran community members as well as older SBSC delegates. He gave special thanks to Arlene Schaupp for her leadership and the hope and inspiration she has provided to so many in SBSC’s work of solidarity with the people of C.O.O. and El Salvador over 28 years.

The proceeds from the event will support several projects and causes, including a project to preserve and promote local Salvadoran culture in communities in the Bajo Lempa region, salary support for both Voices’ staff and Bajo Lempa health promoters, and emergency security measures for the staff of Radio Victoria in Cabañas, who have been receiving death threats for courageously speaking out against impunity and corruption.”

violence

Fact-Finding Delegation to Cabanas

Voices on the Border is hosting a fact-finding delegation to Cabañas for Febrary 6 – 14, 2010 to gather information about the recent wave of violence in the region and accompany those who are still at risk.

Communities in Cabañas are in crisis following the assassination of three civic leaders, and numerous other attacks and threats. We scheduled the delegation for the earliest dates possible so that we may respond in a timely manner.

Delegates will meet with civil society leaders and activists in Cabañas to get detailed accounts of the violence, and discuss how the international community may best accompany them.  We will also ask for their views about how the Salvadoran Government has responsed to the crisis.  The Delegation will then meet with the Ombudsman for Human Rights, the Attorney General’s office, police officials, and representatives from the Funes Administration to receive an update on the investigation.  Before departing, delegates will produce a preliminary report of their findings with recommendations about how government agencies and civil society may end the violence and bring those responsible to justice.

Cost: $760 plus airfare (includes food, in-country ground transportation, hotel costs, and translation services)
Dates: February 6-14, 2010

To sign up, or get more information, contact Roddy Hughes at voices@votb.org

If you are unable to participate in this delegation, but would like to help out, we encourage you to contribute to a scholarship fund so that others may participate.  To do so, visit our website (http://www.votb.org) and click on the Paypal button – or send a check to:

Voices on the Border
3321 12th St. NE
Washington DC 20017
(Please indicate that you are contributing to the scholarship fund)


Environment, Voices Developments

Environmental Delegation to El Salvador

Voices on the Border invites you to join us on a delegation to El Salvador from August 1-9, 2009, to explore how the fields of law, science, education, economics, and trade affect local efforts to protect the environment and natural resources.

nancuchiname4Environmental Protection in El Salvador El Salvador is the most densely populated and the second most deforested country in the Western Hemisphere. Over 90% of all surface waters are dangerously contaminated by agricultural runoff, untreated wastewater, and waste from unregulated industry. As a result, farmers are dying of renal failure linked to agrochemicals, while children suffer from gastro intestinal diseases related to the contaminated water sources.  Deforestation results in flooding, landslides, and other disasters that have killed thousands in recent years.

The weak rule of law, lack of environmental education or access to technology and science, and economic pressures are a few of the significant barriers that citizens, government agencies, and civil society face in their efforts to restore and protect local ecosystems and natural resources.

How can developing communities restore and protect their environmental integrity? How are El Salvador’s environmental issues similar to those in other developing countries?  How can we, as members of the international community, best support Salvadorans and others in similarly situated countries achieve sustainable levels of development?  Come to El Salvador and find out!

During the 9-day trip, participants will meet with environmentalists, economists, government officials, and community leaders to discuss their efforts to achieve sustainable levels of development and protect the health and wellbeing of Salvadorans.  We will also travel around the country to witness environmental degradation and discuss the barriers that communities and environmentalists face, as well as how some are fighting back.  Our excursions will include a day-long boat trip through mangrove forests, a hike up a volcano, and other opportunities to enjoy El Salvador’s remaining natural treasures.

We welcome people of all ages and walks of life, especially students or professionals in the fields of law, science, public health, or economics. We will provide translators, so an ability to speak Spanish (while beneficial) is not required.

girl-by-water4Details:

Cost: $900 includes food, lodging, in-country transportation, and interpretation

Deposit: Application and $100 due by July 10, 2009 (Application available at www.votb.org)

Lodging: Participants will stay in safe, comfortable guesthouses

For more info click here or contact: Thomas R. Hughes (email: voices@votb.org or phone: 202-529-2912)