Land of Volcanoes
El Salvador is Spanish for “the Savior” - or Jesus Christ and achieved independence from Spain in 1821. El Salvador was ravaged by a tragic twelve-year civil war in the 1980s, sparked in part due to gross inequality between a small elite minority and the majority of the population who continues to live in abject poverty. The war brought about significant political reforms as well as casualties reaching up to 75,000 of the country’s civilians.
El Salvador is geographically the smallest country in Central America (about the size of New Jersey) and the most densely populated. Its countryside sports breathtaking volcanoes and mountains offering a wide range of outdoor adventures and scenic activities. El Salvador also offers unique colonial towns, national parks, Mayan sties, and world renowned surfing beaches.
Salvadorans are known for their great hospitality and are among the nicest people in the world. El Salvador’s friendly people that are always eager to help anyone has earned them the nickname of “the country with a smile.” The typical Salvadoran diet includes lots of rice and beans, seafood, and the most common Salvadoran dish, the famous Pupusa, a tortilla filled with cheeses, beans, pork, or a combination of the three.
El Salvador’s economy depends heavily on remittances (money sent home from Salvadoreans living in the US). Poverty, civil war, and natural disasters and their consequent dislocations have left their mark on El Salvador’s society, which is among the most crime-ridden in the Americas.
Some projects our HELP teams in El Salvador have accomplished recently include:
- Visual acuity screenings in impoverished schools
- Home construction for tidal wave victims
- Reforestation campaigns
- Assist in building of community centers
- Outreach programs with at-risk youth
- Mural and classroom painting of underserved schools
- Recreational activities for girls' orphanage and emergency house
- Community income generating activities
- Sports camps