Protection against gangs

How we keep youths away from criminal gangs

Criminal gangs in El Salvador have some 60,000 members, and the numbers are rising rapidly. Armed robberies, rape and homicides are an everyday occurrence. El Salvador experiences around 40 murders per 100,000 inhabitants. This is compared to 0.5 in Switzerland.

  • Challenge

    Gangs recruit youths on the streets

  • Measure

    Meaningful leisure activities for youths

  • Aim

    Keeping youths off the streets

Number of participating children


Project duration from 2015 to 2023


Leisure activities, Violence, Criminality, Central America

Project activities

In 2015, 1,552 children and youths aged between 10 and 18 no longer had to spend their leisure time on the streets. They had the opportunity to attend our sports, dance and cookery courses.


Meaningful leisure activities for youths

In El Salvador, school lessons are only held in the mornings. In the afternoons, youths in poor districts often spend their time on the streets with nothing meaningful to do. This is a situation that can have devastating effects, as the streets are where criminal gangs recruit new members.

Fun and sports instead of gangs and murder

This is where we come in. The Pestalozzi Children’s Foundation provides youths with beneficial after-school leisure activities while keeping them off the streets. This gives youths prospects for the future and reduces the risk that they will join a criminal gang.

«Our leisure activities offer a safe environment for youths whose everyday lives are dominated by violence.»

Florencia Garcia
Country Representative of El Salvador

Do you have any questions or suggestions about our work in El Salvador?

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Together, we supported 22 136 children in 2020.

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16.09.2021 - 08:16

We are recruiting new members

We are currently recruiting in following towns and cities:
Fribourg, Morges, Yverdon-les-Bains, Genève, Vevey, Lausanne, Onex, Bassins, Burtigny, Le Vaud, Longirod, Marchissy, Saint-George.