EL SALVADOR: FUSALMO launches summer activities at Salesian oratory with soccer tournament for 125 youth
(MissionNewswire) More than 125 youth took part in a soccer tournament that opened the summer activities of the Salesian-run oratory that is funded by FUSALMO in the municipality of Soyapango, El Salvador. In addition, an event to launch a skating club was attended by more than 20 youth and their families.
FUSALMO is a Salesian-run organization that offers traditional and non-traditional educational opportunities for at-risk youth in communities in San Salvador, El Salvador. Through recreational programs, enrichment opportunities in the arts and music, vocational training and more, youth are encouraged to stay off the streets, learn to cooperate and co-exist and gain the skills they need to become productive, contributing members of a more peaceful society. Founded in 2001, the organization has positively impacted the lives of more than 265,000 children and their families.
FUSALMO works to address the root causes of poverty, inequality and violence and give youth a chance for a better life in their own communities. Through the organization’s Don Bosco Youth Integral Program, three sports centers were developed in Soyapango, San Miguel and Santa Ana, benefitting more than 55,000 youth. The sports centers offer safe spaces to connect with peers and supportive adults and access to training on topics including creating a culture of peace, vocational guidance, adapted physical education, sports, technology, labor and culture.
“FUSALMO develops educational activities that allow youth to discover their vocational specialties,” says Father Mark Hyde, executive director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “Through the organization’s sports centers, youth are provided with comprehensive educational tools and the foundation of promoting a culture of peace within their homes and broader communities.”
FUSALMO was the recipient of USAID funding to take the educational model developed in its sports centers and create a program that is provided to 664 schools in high-risk areas. The organization received its funding from the Foundation for Salvadoran Integral Education (FEDISAL), the primary USAID partner, who had engaged several organizations in this initiative. Through the program, FUSALMO provided participating schools assistance in sports, technology, art, culture and education about coexisting in peace.
“These Salesian programs are working to ensure that youth have the opportunities they need to gain an education and develop skills for employment, allowing them to remain in their home country,” adds. Fr Hyde. “Salesian missionaries focus on prevention. They address the root causes and reasons people leave their countries and provide programs to help youth gain the opportunities at home they seek elsewhere. This improves their lives and their communities as a whole.”
El Salvador is one of the most violent countries in Central America, along with Honduras and Guatemala. The murder rate in El Salvador rose more than 44 percent in the beginning months of 2014 when compared to the same time period the year before. In 2016, San Salvador was named the murder capital of the world, seeing more murders and violent crime than any other city. Gang violence is a leading cause of violence in the country, and it’s estimated that some 60,000 young people have gang affiliation. Gang involvement often offers a sense of belonging and a sense of family that counters the lack of education and employment opportunities offered in the country.
Crime is often associated with poverty and close to 35 percent of El Salvador’s population lives in poverty, according to the World Bank. Youth in El Salvador are confronted not only with poverty, but with instability, high levels of violence and inadequate access to educational opportunities. Despite ranking high for economic indicators, the need for practical education in El Salvador is more important than ever with 12 percent of youth ages 15-24 unemployed and 41 percent underemployed.
Salesian Missions operates a U.S.-based fund in support of FASULMO. Donations can be made at www.salesianmissions.org/fusalmo.
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World Bank – El Salvador