El Salvador - "Terre des Jeunes": an association for street children

11 July 2017

(ANS - San Salvador) - In 2011, in his sociological studies on street children, Simon Pierre Escudero went to El Salvador to conduct research. At that time, no institution was working directly with street children; for this reason, he decided to found an association - "Terre des Jeunes" - with whom he still works, together with Victoria, a Salesian Salvadoran Cooperator, in the country's most difficult areas.

What is at the heart of your project?

We work on three rights: health, education, and identity. The right to health is the first step to supporting street children, because due to their appearance they are denied access to public hospitals. So we have developed a collaboration with a private clinic that allows us to move quickly, and for free, with children.

Also, many have no identity! Without a birth certificate, they cannot claim any rights! We have managed to find lawyers who help us, but the process is long and expensive.

Finally, we strive to raise awareness on the right to education. We orient the children towards public schools. For the bigger ones, who sniff glue and are resistant to time schedules, we provide educational activities through games and a school for literacy with flexible schooling hours. This school is in front of a police station, in a neutral area, a space that does not belong to the gangs that divide the neighborhoods.

How is the context of violence in which you work?

El Salvador is one of the most violent countries in the world! The notorious "maras" were born in El Salvador. But violence is not just that of bands, it is generalized!

The street is a space outside of the law. We happened to find ourselves in places we should not have been and received death threats, or we have had to cancel activities. Yet we never feel so safe in the streets as when we are with children: they have an incredible ability to protect those who appreciate them!

What do you need to allow the project to develop?

There is a need for a larger number of paid teachers to meet the needs of many young people, especially as the street changes from one day to the next, which is unpredictable, and if we are not present at the right time, the opportunities for guidance and accompaniment are lost.

For more information: https://www.fondationdonbosco.fr/ - https://terredesjeunes.wordpress.com

Source: Don Bosco Aujourd'hui 



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