Youth Entreprenuership

August 14, 2012

Leer esta entrada en español.

For the past year, five youth from the Getsemaní Community have been developing their own micro-business initiative. The so-called “Jewelry Group” makes handmade jewelry from beads and natural items, including coffee beans, seeds, and stones.  They sell and promote the jewelry themselves, which has been quite popular with the international volunteers.

The Jewelry Group has received support from INSAFOCOOP (Salvadoran Institute for Promoting Cooperatives) in the form of various technical and business trainings. For example, they have learned how to make a budget as well as balance income and expenses. Most recently, the jewelers participated in workshops focused on improving product design, based on competition and fashion trends.

“It was hard work in the beginning,” said 20-year-old José Sanchez, president of the Jewelry Group. “Now, we are amazed at what we have accomplished.” Among their accomplishments, they have even fulfilled three orders from the United States!

The business has slowly grown since the initial meetings over a year ago.  In the last few months, the Jewelry Group voted to expand and take on five new members! With the newly-expanded group of ten, the Jewelry Group hopes to increase the amount of product created and sold in the future, and they are looking for new venues where they can sell their products.


Jovenes Emprendadores

August 14, 2012

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Durante este año pasado, cinco jóvenes de la comunidad Getsemaní han estado desarrollando su propia iniciativa de micro-empresas. Este grupo, se llama, “Grupo de Bisutería”, la cual elabora a mano, bisutería de mostacilla y otros artículos naturales, incluyendo granos de café, semillas, y piedras. Los Jovenes venden y promueven sus propios productos, que han sido populares entre los voluntarios internacionales que visitan el proyecto.

El Grupo de Bisutería ha recibido apoyo de INSAFOCOOP (Instituto Salvadoreño de Fomento Cooperativo) por medio de varias capacitaciones técnicas y de negocios. Por ejemplo, han aprendido como hacer un presupuesto, así como balancear ingresos y gastos. Más reciente, los joyeros participaron en capacitaciones enfocadas en mejorar los diseños del producto, basado en competencia y la moda.

“Fue costoso al principio,” dijo José Sanchez, 20 años, presidente del Grupo de Bistuería. “Ahora, estamos maravillados de lo que hemos logrado.” Entre sus logros, han cumplido tres órdenes a los Estados Unidos!

El negocio ha crecido lentamente desde las reuniones iniciales de hace más de un año atrás. En los últimos meses, el Grupo de Bisutería votó a favor de ampliar y traer cinco miembros nuevos. Con el nuevo grupo de diez, el Grupo de Bisutería espera aumentar la cantidad  de producto vendido y fabricado en el futuro, y están buscando nuevas lugares para vender sus productos.


Youth Benefit From Classes

June 25, 2012

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Last December, twenty youth from the Getsemaní community were selected to attend extracurricular classes every Saturday in the nearby city of Ahuachapán. Some of the students are studying English, while others are learning basic computer skills.

English: The youth are learning English vocabulary and grammar each Saturday and furthermore hold a group study session during the week to practice conversation and pronunciation.  Their progress is already noticeable. Some students have advanced so far in their speaking abilities that they are able to communicate and even translate for visiting international volunteer teams!

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Students translating for visiting volunteer teams.

Basic Computer Skills: The youth are learning the basic functions and vocabulary of computer use. They study typing skills, Internet use, and common computer programs. These skills are not taught at their public schools because they do not have the resources to provide a computer lab for students.

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Students showing visiting volunteers the skills they have learned in their classes.

The classes are geared towards helping the students gain the vocational skills necessary for finding a good job in the future.  The program is funded by Myers Park Presbyterian Church.


Jóvenes se benefician de clases

June 25, 2012

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En el mes de  Diciembre, veinte jóvenes de la comunidad Getsemaní se habían seleccionado para atender clases extracurriculares  cada sábado en el pueblo Ahuachapán. Algunos estudiantes estudian Ingles, y los demás estudian computación.

Inglés: Los jóvenes están aprendiendo vocabulario y gramática cada sábado y se reúnen en grupo durante la semana para practicar conversación y pronunciación. El progreso de los estudiantes es notable. Algunos han avanzado en las habilidades hasta que pueden comunicarse y traducir para los voluntarios internacionales que nos han visitado.


Jóvenes traduciendo para voluntarios internacionales.

Computación: Los jóvenes están aprendiendo las funciones básicas y vocabulario del uso de las computadoras. Practican, escriben, usan el internet, y programas básicos de computación. No les enseñan esas destrezas en las escuelas públicas porque no tienen los recursos para proporcionar una sala de computación para los estudiantes.

Jóvenes ensenando lo que aprendieron en clases de computación.

Estas clases son fundadas con el propósito de ayudar a los estudiantes a enriquecer las habilidades vocacionales necesarias para obtener un trabajo en el futuro. Este programa es financiado por la iglesia presbiteriana Myers Park.


I Return for Love

January 17, 2012

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People often ask me questions about El Salvador.  The one that I like best is, “Why do you keep going back?”  This question is the easiest of all and gives me the opportunity to open my heart to “why.”

“Why do I go back?”  I go back because of love.  God has given me a real love for El Salvador and the people who live there. The people have shown great love to me and I guess that’s what happens when we “love others” as God has commanded us: the love becomes reciprocal.  You can’t give it without getting it and you can’t get it without giving it!  God sent me to El Salvador in 2008 to a country whose name, translated, is “The Savior.” He sent me there to teach me and lead me in a new direction that was not about me at all – it was about finally listening to Him and seeing what it was that He had for me to do.  I was finally seeing the world from a whole different perspective, and that perspective came from the hearts of the very people that I thought I had come to help.

I now have friends, real amigos, from El Salvador that have become part of my thoughts, my prayers, my life. They treat me as familia and I cherish the bond that has developed with them. Their faith witness has also greatly impacted me as they have displayed thankfulness and trust in God even while existing on very meager incomes and dwelling in houses without floors.   They are hard-working, generous, friendly, huggable people! Speaking of hugs – I am so humbled and honored that they have given me so many abrazos, so many “no adios – hasta luego or hasta pronto” and have shared tears with me as we parted, not truly knowing if we will, indeed, meet again on this earth, though I have promised that, God-willing, “I will be back to see you next year.”

So, even though El Salvador is a country of great physical beauty, her real beauty is her people. It’s kind of funny because I’m not usually very good at remembering names, but I remember many, many names of my ES friends and I repeat them in a long list as I lift them up to God in prayer regularly.  Yes, I go back because of love: love for God and love for all of them.

I have been humbled, enlightened, instructed, led, and encouraged by my experiences in El Salvador, and I intend to keep coming back as long as God grants me the opportunity.

—Roger Kimmel, Thrivent volunteer and team leader


Regreso Por Amor

January 17, 2012

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La gente me pregunta mucho sobre El Salvador.  La pregunta que más me gusta es: “Por qué sigues regresando?”  Esta pregunta es la más fácil de contestar y me da la oportunidad de abrir mi corazón sobre “por qué.”

“Por qué regreso?”  Regreso por el amor.  Dios me ha dado un amor verdadero por El Salvador y la gente que vive allá.  La gente me ha mostrado un gran amor y creo que es lo que pasa cuando “amamos a otros” como Dios nos ha mandado: el amor se vuelve mutuo.  No se puede dar el amor sin recibirlo, y no lo puedes recibir sin darlo!  Dios me mandó a El Salvador en 2008.  Me mandó para enseñarme y guiarme en una nueva dirección donde no todo se trata de mi—se trata de finalmente escuchar a Él y ver lo que Él quiere que yo haga.  Por fin pude ver el mundo de una nueva perspectiva, y esta perspectiva vino de los corazones de la gente a quienes yo pensé que iba a ayudar.

Ahora tengo amigos, verdaderos amigos, de El Salvador quienes son parte de mis pensamientos, mis oraciones, y mi vida.  Me tratan como si fuera familia y yo valoro las amistades que tengo con ellos.  Su fe me ha impactado mucho, y me han mostrado su agradecimiento y confianza en Dios aunque tengan que sobrevivir con muy bajos ingresos en casas con pisos de tierra.  Son personas trabajadoras, generosas, amigables, y abrazables!  Hablando de los abrazos—me siento honrado que tantas personas me han dado tantos abrazos, y que me dicen “no adiós—hasta luego o hasta pronto,” y que han compartido lágrimas conmigo cuando nos partimos, sin saber si de verdad nos volveremos a ver en este mundo pero yo siempre con la promesa que, primero Dios, “les veré el próximo año.”

Aunque El Salvador es un país con mucha belleza de paisaje, su belleza verdadera es su gente.  En general no soy bueno para recordar los nombres, pero me acuerdo de muchos, muchos nombres de mis amigos salvadoreños y los repito en un listado largo cuando rezo a Dios pidiéndole que les cuide.  Sí, yo regreso por amor: amor por Dios y amor por todos ellos.

He recibido lecciones de humildad y he sido ilustrado, enseñado, guiado, y animado por mis experiencias en El Salvador, y pienso regresar siempre que Dios me de la oportunidad.

—Roger Kimmel, líder y voluntario de Thrivent


Relationships

January 16, 2012

Leer esta entrada en español.

Everyone knew this was the last workday so emotions were mixed & energy ran high.  Each team continued on their home with renewed determination to get the most done today, if not complete the home they had started.  Team 1 slaved at their home and got to watch the blocks close to the top being set.  Team 2 worked themselves out of a job since their holes were dug.  Team 3 painted the interior of the house a beautiful blue.

At lunch, Steve’s team from Michigan joined us at the community center.  We had a festival of sorts.  Steve made his balloon animals & I printed photos of kids present.  Habitat held a ceremony to give us diplomas; we sang five songs to & with the kids.  It was a heart-wrenching good-bye to all the people throughout the week we had come to know & love.

I had read before we went that “most of us are accustomed to working for a reward.  We get paid for a completed job, and there’s a bonus when our efforts exceed expectation.”  For the most of us we had no idea how & what we would work with.  Even with no money paid for a job well done, the rewards we realized after this week far exceeded what we thought we would feel.  Everyone agreed we were a wonderful group—working together and interacting nicely with the kids & adults alike.  We saw great attitudes amongst the people we were working with.  We felt safe & loved by these people, our brothers & sisters.

—Bernita Edelman, Thrivent volunteer


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