Details: | Published: 10 December 2018 | Hits: 6374

As we close yet another year of hard work, challenges, successes, advances and solidarity, we want to share our year end report with you. See below the letter from Executive Director Leslie Schuld, and to see the full report which breaks down successes and challenges of each area, you may download it here.

“Along the way of life, someone must have sense enough and morality enough to cut off the chain of hate and evil. The greatest way to do that is through love. I believe firmly that love is a transforming power that can lift a whole community to new horizons of fair play, good-will, and justice.” - Martin Luther King Jr.

”I am not public security; I am a soldier of war. I do not bring piñatas, candy or kisses; I can only offer you bullets.”-Colonel of the Salvadoran Armed Forces.

Celebration 25 Years of People to People Solidarity!

“Because an unorganized people is a mass that can be manipulated; but a people that organizes itself and defends its values, its justice, is a people that is respected.”Homily, Saint Oscar Arnulfo Romero, March2, 1980.    


San Salvador, December 2018

Dear Friends,

We want to wish you happy holidays and express our gratitude for your support to CIS’ solidarity work – empowering communities to be architects in their own social and economic transformation over the past 25 years! The seeds we planted 25 years ago have roots and are bearing fruits of empowered women and youth, organized communities, and people who are aware of their human rights and demanding they be respected.

In addition to celebrating CIS’ 25 years, we celebrated the canonization of Saint Romero October 14th. The official recognition that Oscar Arnulfo Romero gave his life for social and economic justice for the excluded is a ray of hope for Salvadorans - and has served as a compass for the CIS. This recognition as a Saint has challenged not only the Catholic Church, but all the churches in El Salvador to dedicate their work for social and economic justice. The churches have risen to the occasion, contributing to getting the first law passed in the world prohibiting metallic mining, and now are playing an important role in organizing to stop the privatization of water and guarantee water as a human right. Thirty-eight years later, there is also an arrest warrant for Romero’s assassins, an important symbol in favor of human rights and an end toimpunity.

The results of CIS’ work in 2018 continue to deepen roots of solidarity, empowerment and transformation:

  • 101 students graduated from the CIS Youth Leadership and Scholarship program: 15 university students and 86 from high school. It is perhaps not the numbers that count as much as the quality and life changing experience for the youth and their communities who develop of vision and capacity to build their community and country through the process of analysis of the reality and community service projects in addition to their formalstudies.
  • Advancement and maturing of women’s businesses – including the Jiquiliete Women’s group in Romero Community, which was legally sworn in as Cooperative in September. We completed  business plans with Leslie’s Bakery in Comasagua and Los Hoyos Sausage business in Ilobasco. We also celebrate that Azules de Titihuapa business was able to reorganize and continue indigo production after a two year recess due to excessive threat of violence in their community of SanIsidro.
  • Romero Community is completing work with Salvadoran Government agencies to install electricity in all 65 homes, the community center and the student library and training center. Perhaps moreimportantly, the community is organizing and including its neighbors and serving as an example of how to build alternatives to violence and migration.
  • CIS School for Solidarity and Social Transformation completed a 7 month leadership course on the environment–which resulted in important analysis of local environmental conditions and strategies and action plans led by scholarship students for community and individual respect for theenvironment.
  • Theodora Vasquez and Maira Figueroa were released from prison February 14th and March 14th after spending 11 and 15 years respectively in prison for miscarriages. Theodora has been the recipient of several international human rights awards for making people aware of the plight of Salvadoran women. Maira had lost complete contact with her family for over 8 years. Theodora, though just reunited with her son and family, made it her mission to go out and find Maira’s family in a remote village so they would be there when she was released. That issolidarity!
  • Special thanks to the Mary Alphonse Bradley Fund for donation of a new pick up so we can retire our 2001 Dodge Dakota and continue working with communities in an efficient and safemanner.
    • Salvadoran Enterprises for Women (SEW) transferred management of its women’s empowerment program to CIS in June. We pledge to continue SEW’s mission with yourhelp!
    • $3,000 will pay for business planning and training process for one SEW women’s business over the course of a year or for seed money to get a small business started. (Any amountwelcome)
    • $1,000 will pay for one year of a University Scholarship. ($300 for a high school scholarship for a community without a partner or for the Gender Scholarship Fund.) Please continue to donate through your local Church or organization if you have a sisterrelationship.
    • $350 will provide partial scholarships for election observers who cannot pay their fullexpenses.

We ask for your support and solidarity action to CIS for the next 25 years!

2. Join the CIS Election Observer and Human Rights Delegation January 28 – February 5, 2019. Registration deadline January 2nd! In addition to being trained to play a pivotal role in election observation, the delegation will learn about the roots of migration, violence and women’s rights.  The cost of the delegation is between $700 - $900, depending if you want a shared or single room. Please write us at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  for more information. If you can’t join the Mission, please consider giving a donation for a scholarship for an observer, publishing the final report, and organizational support.

Leslie Schuld, CIS Director and Los Olivos CIS Representative in El Salvador

CIS Board of Directors: Wilfredo Medrano, Delmy Valencia, Mario Arévalo, Eugenio Chicas, Ana Avilés, Lisandra Soriano, Verónica Arévalo.

Los Olivos CIS Board of Directors: Mimi Jordan, Robyn Smith, Gary Ellis, Mary Frances Ross, Sara Mulrooney, Rosemary Biggins, Mike Tork, Steve Boyer, Susan Mull, Ed Osowski.

CIS and Los Olivos CIS staff: Bellini Castro, Oscar García, Victor Andaluz, Vicenta Martínez, Wilmer Erroa, Arturo Severo, Maira Romero, Delmy Linarez, Noemí Torres, Yessenia Flores, Luis Aguillón, Yeny Giron, Josué Duran, Iris Hernández, Leonor del Carmen Huezo, Esmeralda Reyes, Evelyn Portillo, and Evelia Sierra.


 To see the full report which breaks down successes and challenges of each area, you may download it here.