To check out a newsletter written by Rainbow of Hope for Children in Canada after their visit to El Salvador with a delegation, please click here!
The general objective of our delegation and brigade program is to provide participants with an in-depth understanding of the social and economic reality of El Salvador as well as to promote solidarity and accompaniment with communities and grassroots organizations working for social change. We coordinate delegations and brigades from universities, parishes, sistering partnerships, solidarity groups, political parties, and others. We have hosted groups from all over the world. If you or your group are interested in coming to El Salvador on a delegation or brigade please write to us!
The CIS delegation program is dynamic and flexible. We combine participants' objectives with the needs for accompaniment in El Salvador. Participants have the opportunity to visit communities and economic development projects. They can also meet with representatives from the women's movement, cooperatives, political parties, labor organizations, youth groups, human rights groups, organizations advocating for the rights of people with disabilities, NGOs, churches and others. Delegations visit historical sites and can opt to go to the beach or other recreational areas. In 2016, we have organized delegations regarding our clean water and scholarship programs the free the 17 campaign, with SOAWatch, small women's businesses delegations and have received universities and other youth groups.
The CIS also facilitates work brigades. These are similar to delegations but include projects that last from one day to three months. Brigades have included: building a memorial park, planting a community garden, technical training, medical brigades, and construction projects. Brigade members must have the skills required, pay for project costs, and be able to dedicate the time needed to complete the project. Brigades in 2016 include a Building Brigade in Romero Community and the PeaceHealth Medical Brigade.
A few testimonies:
My Time in El Salvador:
While in El Salvador, I experienced many things, but the one thing that stands out in particular is the people. The country is full of kind, spirited, hardworking, colorful people and every moment spent with one of them was one to remember. I can recall reading up on the country before visiting and seeing all the stories about how welcoming the people were and how kind the country was as a whole. I experienced this feeling firsthand the minute I stepped off the plane and saw our wonderful CIS guide waiting with a smiling face and a waving hand.
I was visiting El Salvador with a few other classmates from the University of Toledo in Ohio to install a water purification unit in the village of San Pablo Tacachico. The process was long and grueling, but the locals did not mind and they stayed with us until the end. They were gracious enough to feed us lunch and keep us company throughout the day. I will never forget the moment when clean, purified water ran through the pipes. The locals’ faces lit up and their joy was immeasurable. It was so heartwarming to see the people of El Salvador become so grateful for something that many take for granted. This moment and the people I experienced it with changed my life and the way I view things. In fact, El Salvador changed my life and the way I view things. If given the chance, I would return to this beautiful country in a heartbeat and I know I would be graciously welcomed, once again. Thank you El Salvador and thank you CIS for the amazing sights, people, and experiences. Que Viva El Salvador!
Kylee Kramer – University of Toledo student and Water Program Delegate
From a community which receives delegations:
“For our community, CIS Delegations have meant so much in our human and social development. With every delegation visit we have learned how to express our reality. As a young community we have learned how to share our history so that can be known in many other places. Also this has helped us to not feel alone, we have received help in many ways, through phone calls, letters, donations and through the help from the Formation and Scholarship Program that supports and strengthens education for our children and youth. Delegations and the community have created ties of friendship and solidarity, and thanks to their support the community dream has come true: the construction of a dignified home for the families in the community; it is not just the construction of a home but of an integral community based on principles of solidarity and friendship”.
Carmen Acevedo, President of the Romero Community
Being the Delegations Coordinator of the CIS is a rewarding experience for me; I have come to understand the real meaning of solidarity. I have had the wonderful opportunity to meet humble Salvadorans with great hearts who dream of and fight to build a nation based on respect and solidarity. I also have met people from all over the world, who have shared their knowledge with me and have inspired me to be humble, people who despite the difficult situations our country is going through, visit it to share and accompany our people in tough moments, and they do it without expecting anything in return, only sincere love.
Evelyn Portillo – Delegations Coordinator