Canada empowers underprivileged women and youth in Sierra Morena, El Salvador

Canadian Delegation with group of boys and girls of Sierra Morena who participate in after school table tennis.

A child relates to Canadian representatives how Canada's support through the project has positively affected his life and his community.

The Group of Parliamentarians and Ambassador Giroux speak with a woman who participates in the sewing workshops.

Canada sponsored a women’s entrepreneurship and a youth empowerment project in an underprivileged El Salvadorian town.

Delegates from the Canadian Parliament and the Canadian Embassy in San Salvador toured both project sites.

From August 2010 to March 2011, Canada sponsored entrepreneurship courses for women in Sierra Morena who are victims of domestic violence or are single parents. With support from the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives (CFLI), the community built a multipurpose room and bought equipment and machinery to conduct various women's entrepreneurship training courses, including sewing, bread-making, cooking and cosmetology workshops.

More importantly, these courses generated 45 microbusinesses in the community, providing direct employment to Sierra Morena women.

Its popularity and positive impact inspired the community to take on a second project and propose a new project to the CFLI: to engage children in afterschool sports activities.

The project, Young Athletes Prevent Violence, serves 120 kids on a regular basis. The children range from the ages of 8 to 18 and come from four communities in Sierra Morena — an area overpopulated with low and middle-income families, many of whom live with scarce portable water, deforestation, and poverty.

The project also gives 60 parents access to family counselling services, parenting workshops and seminars, and even aerobics classes.

The women suggested using a local parish as a safe haven for children and youth, who are prone to the dangers of the gang market.

Canadian delegates visited the training facilities, witnessed the programs at work, and socialized with participants.

“The visit of Canadian parliamentarians as part of ParlAmerica was a major event for the Guadalupe parish community. International recognition of their local initiative has motivated them to continue their efforts and increased the impact of their actions, encouraging neighbouring communities to start their own projects," said Canadian Ambassador, Pierre Giroux.