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EL SALVADOR COMMITTED TO ITS ELDERLY

The National Secretary of Family (SNF) of El Salvador is an institution that is committed to promoting, creating, and facilitating opportunities and conditions that encourage the integral unity and sustainable development of the family and its different members. Created by an Executive Order in 1989, they have successfully obtained a very positive image among Salvadorians for being an effective, transparent, and compassionate office working for the family. With 5% of the total population over the age of 65, a comprehensive and effective program for the systematic care of the elderly is crucial for their well-being. To this end, Ana Morales, Director of Integral Attencion to the Elderly, contacted FAVACA for assistance in developing a nation-wide program dedicated to El Salvador’s aging community. Veteran FAVACA volunteer and retired gerontologist with the Pan American Health Organization, Dr. Martha Pelaez, committed herself once again to the well-being of the region’s elderly. She traveled to San Salvador June 19 - 22, 2007 and worked with Ana Morlaes and her staff at the SNF, as well as the National Committee on Aging, to conduct strategic planning for the future of aging services in El Salvador and engage them in support of a collaborative effort to improve access and quality of services.

COMMUNIQUE STORIES ON El Salvador

Volunteer Conducts Computer Training in El Salvador Prison

Miguel Rivera of Port Orange, Florida works part-time at the South Dade Adult Education Center, and this past November he took his skills to El Salvador to conduct training in computer maintenance and repair for prisoners and instructors under the auspices of Confraternidad Carcelaria.

Confraternidad Carcelaria of El Salvador is a Catholic charity that aims to assist prisoners by preparing them to return to society as productive, reformed citizens. In the past two years, Confraternidad Carcelaria has trained more than 600 prisoners in basic computer skills in order to help released prisoners find employment.

"When I went to San Salvador, I was confronted with eight individuals who had limited or no knowledge of how personal computers worked. I was able to teach them basic computer operations, troubleshooting procedures, repairs and maintenance," Rivera said. "By the end of the trip I could see and detect the changes in those individuals."

Rivera gained many of his computer skills in the United States Army where he was trained in missile guidance and radar technology and in command and control systems computer technology. After his retirement from the army in 1980, he worked in the Miami-Dade Public Schools as an electronic systems technician and a computer systems technician until 1997.

"To me the trip was a success because I was able to share my knowledge with eight individuals who were ready and eager to learn. Five of those individuals are prison inmates who will sooner or later leave confinement. When they return to society, if at least one of them becomes a productive citizen, society and the country will benefit," Rivera concluded.

Confraternidad Carcelaria’s efforts are concentrated at the largest prison in the country "La Mariona" in San Salvador but efforts are underway to establish similar programs elsewhere.

SALVADORAN NGO STRENGTHENS PROJECT DEVELOPMENT SKILLS. 

Confraternidad Carcelaria de El Salvador (CONCARES) works with prison inmates to provide them with job skills.  They currently operate a successful computer center in one prison and hope to expand that project to other prisons.  At the center prisoners learn software and maintenance skills.  CONCARES is also seeking funding to develop other projects to prepare inmates for life outside of prison and lower the high rate of recidivism.  Ines de Medina, executive director of CONCARES, requested follow-up training in project development, proposal writing, and strategic planning for the board of directors and her volunteer staff.  Veteran volunteer Gabriel Parra, Pembroke Pines, traveled to El Salvador February 18-23, 2004, for an intensive series of consultations.  Parra’s report, developed with input from staff and board members, will serve as the basis for their first strategic plan.

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