I remember the day clearly. It had literally taken years to get to this point. Years of watching these children suffer. I had visited them multiple times every week for over a year. Usually bringing them to my home on the weekends to bathe them, feed them, give them medicine, treat their scabies, and brush the lice out of their hair. On many visits, one or two were not able to see me because they had been “bad.” I knew what that really meant. It meant they had been beaten. It was actually me that wasn’t allowed to see them. But this was the day I would be able to pick them up and not have to drop them back off to that dark, damp shack where they’d been hidden. After years of building a relationship with their abusive grandmother, she had finally agreed to let three of her orphaned grandchildren come to live with me. On that day, October 23rd, 2003, Love and Hope was born.
Since that day, fifteen years ago now, Love and Hope has become “home” to nearly forty children. Twenty-two have been rescued from physical abuse. Over twenty-five have been removed from homes in gang-controlled territories. Nine children have been adopted. Four have already graduated from high school. Two are currently studying abroad. And nineteen young people currently live at Love and Hope, or are receiving educational scholarships and support. It is our desire at Love and Hope to continue to walk with these young people; to guide them to safety into adulthood and watch them become agents of change in their country.
What would happen if we had to drop them off, fifteen years later, at the very homes they came from? Without our support they would be forced to drop out of school and begin to work. Without a high school diploma they would only be able to make minimum wage (around $300 USD/month) or less. Many would be forced into gangs, or be murdered for refusing to join. 30% of the girls would become mothers before their nineteenth birthday, and many would become victims of sexual assault.
For fifteen years hundreds of individuals have contributed to our organization, and as a result all these children still have hope. Their support has made all the work possible. But there is still more to do. Would you like to join our fight for justice in El Salvador? Would you like to do a fundraiser with your school, church or club? For more information on how to get involved, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow us online at facebook.com/LoveHopeHome.