In the spring of 2019 we visited our project in San Salvador, El Salvador and were able to bring a lifetime TFE Super Fan along for the journey! This TFE community member has supported us since the wheels started turning in the spring of 2011 and his passion for our cause is right up there with ours. Upon his return he shared his travel takeaways with his family and close friends; we thought you might like to read some excerpts!
“It is difficult for me to talk about our experiences with the children who are receiving the uniforms we helped purchase. First, the looks in their eyes when we gave them their new uniforms….pure happiness and a sweet “gracias”. These are beautiful, innocent children full of energy and enthusiasm…and some mischief. We were, for the most part, replacing old uniforms and were surprised (shocked?) at how clean and well maintained the uniforms were…an indication that they took much pride in wearing them.
Then we heard from the teachers who were every bit as grateful and told us how important the uniforms were to the self esteem of their students. We were also told that uniforms encourage children to go to school. If these children were not in school they would be home, likely alone, and easy prey for the gangs. We did hear something that was interesting from our the head master at the last school we visited. He thanked us over and over for the uniforms..but then he paused and told us how important he thought it was for us to visit the schools and spend time with the children. I understood it from my point of view because this experience has changed my life. But his point was that the students, when they saw us come to their school, knew that someone cared for them and that they had touched a stranger’s heart. It meant a lot to their self esteem.
We did a significant amount of traveling around the country. It is beautiful. In some cases, it takes your breath away. We went into the mountains, coffee country, to visit one school and drove through lush tropical forests. Sadly, we didn’t get to see the ocean but were told they have beautiful beaches. Generations of families live close to each other…within walking distance. Our driver, Maurice, made it to the US after 3 attempts (his story was like listening to a podcast and cursing every commercial because you were on the edge of your seat) only to return within months after paying off his coyote. They love their country. But the gangs make it impossible.
We also visited the “factory” where the uniforms were made. This was a five room house in a guarded “safer” area in San Salvador. There we six people working on ancient sewing machines….uniforms stacked everywhere for future deliveries.
I have much more to tell you but briefly, above are some of my takeaways from the trip. There is no question in my mind that our efforts with Tailored for Education have and will continue to have, a positive impact on the immigration crisis at our US borders.