ADRA’s literacy project in El Salvador aims to change people’s lives.
“I know in some schools wouldn’t allow me to take classes because I have my child with me. I thank God and ADRA that I can learn with my daughter,” explains Mary Collindres, a student at one of more than 120 literacy schools created by ADRA in El Salvador to empower communities in remote and indigenous regions of the country.
Hundreds of students of all ages and grades, from kindergarten through high school, attend classes to learn and enhance reading, writing, and math skills.
“The literacy project in El Salvador not only teaches people how to read and write, but also empowers them to achieve the essential skills to find jobs,” says Alex Figueroa, ADRA Country Director for El Salvador.
“I am finishing 8th grade, and hope to become a teacher one day,” says student Javier Solorzano.
Every year, hundreds of students graduate from the ongoing annual education program, which began in 2002. It is supported by donors and the Adventist Church in El Salvador, North America, and Inter-America, as well as other organizations and municipalities.
“We are grateful for ADRA’s collaboration. as a municipality, we couldn’t have done it. ADRA helped us reach communities and provided advice on how to conduct the classes,” says San Juan Nonualco Councilwoman Patricia Quintanilla.
ADRA transforms backyards, gardens, churches, and even huts in the middle of the forest into schoolhouses to offer the free program.
“We furnish them with tables, chairs, and blackboards to turn them into classrooms. Most of the teachers are ADRA volunteers from churches and communities who donate their time every week,” says Alex Figueroa, ADRA Country director for El Salvador.
The majority of the students are women, and many are older adults. A 75-year-old student treks 25 kilometers every day to make it to the Panchimalco school near a mountaintop.
“We didn’t have a chance to learn as children, but we can still do it as adults. You keep hope alive when you know you are coming here to learn.”
This year, more than 1200 students are expected to graduate from the ADRA Literacy project in El Salvador.