• Community building and construction in Paso Puente

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  • Community building and construction in Paso Puente Community

  • Next Election Observation Mission in 2021

  • Language School

  • Small Businesses for Women

  • Providing Access to Clean Water

  • Scholarship Recipients 2019

 #Giving Tuesday is three weeks away! 


Paso Puente Jasmin

“The best thing about our new home is that I can now play on the floor with my little sister”. 8-year-old Jasmine

San Salvador, November 2020

Dear Friends,

Wishing you a Happy Thanksgiving. We are praying that you and your loved ones are healthy and that you can be together—safely—as a family. Even during these trying times, we have much to be thankful for. We are thankful for the time we have had to reflect on how to build a more healthy and environmentally friendly world; we are thankful to have a roof over our heads; we are thankful that although we are physically distanced we are able to communicate through the internet and social media in ways that were impossible before. We are thankful for your solidarity and support to strengthen CIS solidarity work during the pandemic. We need your continued support to build new homes and a new reality.  

We are thankful there are new opportunities to be in solidarity and contribute to social and economic transformation: we need your help to be able to build another 50 dignified homes in Paso Puente community, together with Homes from the Heart and the Salvadoran Government Housing Ministry.

Thanks to your support, during the pandemic, CIS has been able to:

  • Distribute food, hygiene, and cleaning baskets out to over 500 families in need;

  • Distribute over 50 new laptop computers (with core i5 operating system), 17 internet subscriptions, seven antennas, and other accessories in 28 communities so that underprivileged students can continue their education and have tools for a quality education;

  • Build 49 complete, dignified homes in Paso Puente Community plus 15 bathrooms and plumbing in other existing homes;

  • And much more – convert our language school to online, upgrade our web page (in process), organize Zoom calls between communities and sister relations, support women’s businesses (where we were able distributing indigo masks and purchasing computer cases), and start developing strategies for online marketing.

We have many challenges for the new year, but now we want to ask for your renewed support for dignified housing and thereby share the blessings many of us take for granted – a dignified home.

CIS’s dignified home project is much more than a family having a roof over their heads in Paso Puente Community: the project has a multiplying effect. CIS was able to organize literacy courses when we discovered 15 single mothers could not read or write. Forty youth in Paso Puente now receive scholarship to study thanks to St. Elizabeth and Holy Spirit Parishes. We want all the youth in the community to have the opportunity for scholarship and be a part of CIS’s leadership development and art therapy programs, so they will have alternatives to migrating or joining the gangs (If you know a church, community group, foundation or individual donations that would like to make an ongoing commitment, please let us know). The program gets the youth off the streets, gives them the tools to get out of poverty, and promotes leadership and self-confidence, so they will be able to maintain their new homes.

We are witnessing a social transformation – Paso Puente is not only an impoverished community, but a community plagued by violence. This is the first time the Salvadoran Government is investing in urban shanty towns, so it is an opportune moment to do something besides offer bullets and repression and get to the heart of what generates social violence – inequality, lack of opportunities to study or decent employment, discrimination, and lack of basic needs and human rights.

Ending structural social and economic poverty is a process and it is not simple. But it is possible; we see the change and transformation before our eyes. Before no one knew their neighbors in Paso Puente because of distrust. Now they know their neighbors. They are helping dig the ditches for the potable water and contributing unskilled labor to build the homes.


One man who did not trust the CIS or myself—and I wasn't sure why—broke down crying one day. He told me the members of the community had been scammed three different times to paying $100; allegedly an agency was going to build them homes.  So, he did not trust me when I asked them if they wanted to build dignified homes.  On another occasion, I asked his young daughter in front of him what she wanted to be when she grows up and she said a doctor.  He started crying and was blown away that his daughter had that idea and that it might be possible with a scholarship. He only had the opportunity to study 4th grade and his wife 2nd grade, so it was not in the realm of their imagination that their daughter would want to become a doctor. This is a big burly man who rarely shows emotion. The police beat him up on several occasions when he was younger just for living in the area and for lack of education.  Now he is president of the community, father, and husband, and playing a key role in coordinating the dignified home project.  


Again, social and economic transformation is not simple, but it is possible. Building the homes is the beginning of a life with dignity. Education will make it possible for them to get out of poverty. Leadership development is a tool for empowerment and change and for them to be actors in protecting the environment, defending human rights, building a culture of peace, and serving others. But, most importantly, building trust through this process and believing in the community members have given them the confidence to believe in themselves and make change possible. Solidarity.

We are asking that you dig deep into your pockets again to contribute to build another group of 50 dignified homes and the possibility of a new reality.  No donation is too big or too small.   CIS and Homes from the Heart will raise a total of $4,000 for each home.  The Salvadoran Government will contribute $3,500 toward the home plus the infrastructure of potable water, sewage, and roads.  

You can contribute to the full CIS contribution of $4,000 for a complete home or a partial contribution:

  • $1,500 will build a bathroom, sink, shower, and toilet, plumbing and absorption well;
  • $1,200 will pay for a roof;
  • $600 will pay for a tile floor;
  • $400 will pay for electric installation;
  • $200 will install a cement sink for washing clothes and dishes; or
  • $100 will pay for supervision.

When do we need the money?

As soon as possible, but we foresee the project taking a year to complete, so if you cannot give right away or can give some funds now and some later, please let us know. 

Donation by Credit Card or Debit Card:

Donation via PayPal: 

boton paypal

* Thank you for being a part of this social transformation. We would love for you to visit and see firsthand the difference you make once it is safe to travel.

 Blessings and Solidarity,

Leslie Schuld

CIS Director and LOS OLIVOS
CIS Legal Representative in El Salvador
Tax deductible donations can be made payable to and mailed to:
Los Olivos CIS (in U.S. dollars) / PO Box 76 / Westmont, IL 60559-0076, USA.
For more information:
Toll free number in U.S.: 1-866-887-2665: El Salvador: ++ 503-2226-5362
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Please share this #GivingTuesday appeal with your friends.



Paso Puente 8Flor Panamena despues 2

“I grew up living in a garbage dump. We survived by going through garbage and selling what was recyclable. When they closed the garbage dump in 1998, my family was displaced and had nowhere to live. I squatted on the land in Paso Puente where I later met my wife. We have two children. I do day labor such as collect bus fares, but during the pandemic I have not had work. Being able to live in a dignified home was not something I saw happening in my lifetime.” Jorge (Jasmine’s father) studied through 3rd grade.

 PP Marina pillowsPP Marina After

“My home is a blessing from God and from all of you. I do not have words to thank you. I love plants and I never thought in my life I would be able to plant a tree in my own yard. It is a dream. Before water would flow through the house. Everything would get wet. The pillows we make to sell would get wet and ruined. Now when it rains, I don’t panic. I feel secure and happy.” Marina, 59-year-old who makes and sells pillows with her husband to survive and has also been without income during the pandemic.

Some photos of additional families where we plan to build new homes with your support:

P P grupo 5 2PP grupo 5