|El Salvador – Education as an alternative to violence|
(ANS – San Salvador) – On Wednesday 30 May the Salesian priest Fr José Moratalla was appointed an Honorary Member of the Federation of Businessmen, the Foundation for Economic and Social Development of El Salvador (FUSADES). This is in recognition of the many years the Salesian has devoted to the all-round development of young people in serious conditions of social need.
Honorary Membership is the highest recognition that FUSADES can give and since 1987 has been offered to those people who have made a contribution to developments in the country. Fr Moratalla has been working for 26 years in one of the districts on the outskirts of El Salvador, where struck by the inhuman conditions those displaced by the Civil War were living he decided to help them to improve their living conditions.
Inspired by a enthusiasm which was catching and a firm faith, he encouraged the young people living in poverty to create small businesses. The youngsters accepted the idea, people took up the challenge and worked with determination so that various independent businesses were set up.
The project grew in an area of the city formerly used as the waste-dump. Soon the results could be seen. The temporary shacks gave way to real houses and area took on new life. The former dump became a green area interspersed with small businesses, a clinic, a study centre for children and youths, a stadium and a small wood.
“In honouring Fr Moratalla, we are also honouring the Salesians for their priceless work for the young” Dr. Francisco De Sola, President of the FUSADES, said in his address.
Fr Moratalla was inspired by Christian Social teaching and by the Preventive System of Don Bosco in promoting a project for the development of human dignity based on work. He is known nationally for his enthusiasm, joyful approach and the tenacity with which he has succeeded in involving the government and local and other national businesses in support for the “Don Bosco Polygon”, as his work is known. He set out to challenge the young people to give of their best in spite of their unpromising situation of economic disadvantage and social exclusion. He says that the secret of it all lies in the will to succeed, in hard work and study, in always seeking to improve and reach higher levels.
“Faced with the violence in the country it is worth while providing suitable solutions to a problem of such magnitude. The deaths caused by gang warfare are nowadays more than those caused by the civil war. If the good people keep silent it is the evil who benefit” Fr Moratalla said in his address expressing his thanks.