Central America

Escaping violence through education

First, fifth and sixth – these are the positions occupied by Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala in the global statistics on murder rates. The high level of criminality is principally due to severe poverty. To improve the future prospects for children and youths, we make it possible for them to go to school and determine their own paths in life – free of poverty and violence.

Children at the Hacienda Corinto School in El Salvador kneel on the floor, painting a large sheet of paper. They begin by writing the word Paz in the middle, because Peace is what they want for their country.

In El Salvador, however, peaceful coexistence is a dream rather than reality at present. Violence is part of people’s everyday lives in Honduras and Guatemala as well.

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Better prospects thanks to education

Without a school-leaving qualification or a job, many young adults in El Salvador see no other option than to join a criminal gang. Going to school enables children and youths to have a violence-free future. 

Equal rights for all

In Honduras, the unequal treatment of people from ethnic minorities leads to conflict. Minorities are often unaware of their rights. In our projects, children and youths are taught about their rights from a young age and are therefore empowered to assert them.

Giving children a voice

Child rights also include being allowed to express one’s opinion openly and ask questions. In Guatemala’s schools, however, this is not a matter of course. We promote the active participation by children in education so that they can derive greater benefit from going to school.

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Vanessa, 13

Vanessa prefers to take the bus than walk to school. Her home city of Zaragoza is too dangerous.

Meet Vanessa
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Eduardo, 12

Many of Eduardo’s friends do not go to school and end up joining criminal youth gangs.

Meet Eduardo

Support children in Central America

Together, we supported 22,911 children in 2016.

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Your contact person

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«We offer alternative education programmes to keep youths out of criminal gangs.»

Gisela Wattendorff
Programme Director Central America

Do you have any questions or suggestions about our work in Central America?
g.wattendorf@pestalozzi.ch

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