Epilogos Charities has been involved with rural community development, with all projects initiated and implemented with Salvadoran collaboration and partnership since 2002. Project recipients in El Salvador contribute at least 30% of the project cost through manual labor or financial contributions. We work in tandem with our Salvadoran partners, a nationally certified community development agency. We include the beneficiaries in all stages of the projects.
Epilogos Charities Inc. has a community development strategy that is built for long-term success. Things are not given away – they are worked for, exchanged, or bought for low prices. “When a community gives its blood, sweat, and tears to accomplish the construction of a building, it will not allow this building to fall into disrepair.
Some of the main focal points of help and service when traveling to El Salvador which deems this as multi-disciplinary are: education, health/nutrition, housing, water/energy/environment and work skills training. Within each component are member who have leadership in this particular area of expertise together each member works in collaboration to have a successful organization.
- Hundreds of needy children who would have dropped out of school have received educational financial support, uniforms, shoes, backpacks, school supplies, and learning aids.
- Three village schools now have state-of-the-art computer systems and new facilities.
- 1500 students have newly constructed, fully equipped science labs.
- 1200 students have a new internal lending library with hundreds of books and educational CDs.
- Unschooled adults and youth attend literacy classes.
- Local art, English, and science teachers are learning new classroom skills from U.S. volunteer teachers.
- Various schools now provide healthy lunches and snacks to more than 800 needy children.
- Volunteers and school youth and their families created sturdy foundations for a future gymnasium that will have a stage, bleachers, and a large roof when completed.
- More than 50 students are able to attend high school and primary grades each year through donations for educational aid
If you would like to sponsor students so they can attend school, the cost is:
– $180 for high school for a year
– $150 for grades 8-9 for a year
– $90 for grades K-7 for a year
With the help of Epilogos, the village of San Jose Villanueva has been given health care throughout the community. Some of medical accomplishments overtime:
- The village has a complete dental clinic and welcomes visits by U.S. volunteer dentists
- Various U.S. volunteer medical professionals conduct rural health clinics several times a year
- Many groups bring purchased or donated medical equipment and medicine
- Health professionals donate mosquito nets and home water purification units to those who otherwise can’t afford them
- Families of dying patients have transportation to the hospice; the costs of caskets and burial are donated
- Hundreds of villagers have received eye exams, glasses, and surgeries at reduced cost; thanks to donations from U.S. professional groups; a nonprofit eye care facility in the capital city has thousands of eyeglasses
In this community it is common to see houses made of cardboard, tin, and plastic tarps… the efforts of Epilogos have:
- More than 100 cement block houses have been constructed for the “working poor” who can manage minimal monthly payments
- 24 prefabricated cement houses, complete with double compost latrines, have been erected for people who own their land but have incomes less than $800 per year
Water, Energy & Environment
It is common in rural parts of El Salvador for families to bathe and wash their clothing in contaminated rivers that also serve as toilets for cows, horses, and people. Streets are strewn with trash because there aren’t many trash receptacles in the entire village. Many parts of the village has no electricity or running water. Today:
- Five communities have environmentally friendly public wash stations.
- A solar system provides light before sunrise and after sunset for the new steps that go down to the wash stations.
- More than 300 families have household water purification filters for cooking and drinking.
- Most households and some schools in the village center now have recycling bins.
- The streets are much cleaner.
- An entire water delivery and purification system has been installed in an area with no electricity, an incredible effort by the community whose pride and dignity have been enhanced by their volunteer labor and funding.
- Many families who had no electricity now have solar energy in their homes and community centers.
Work Training Skills
Epilogos works to help members of this community become self sufficient by providing a new skills they can use daily. Examples include:
- A small business cooperative is making a profit from harvesting shrimp and tilapia and selling seafood dinners in a rural restaurant. Training and ongoing support continues in collaboration with local agencies.
- Several women work in local bakeries after receiving training and three years of on-the-job experience. Others who also received training have a contract to provide healthy lunches and snacks to the local high school students.
- Volunteers from the U.S. have worked with local carpenters, teaching them new skills and techniques. They also donated tools for future training workshops.
- Seamstresses have trained women to measure, cut, and sew clothing on donated sewing machines.
- Volunteers have taught women to embroider flour sacks and create angels, flowers, and wreaths from paper and corn husks. These industries bring in extra funds to help cover family expenses.
- Several of the women use the income to make monthly payments on their houses, built through Habitat for Humanity.