Karla, Wilber and Jose are new COFOA organizers. They join veteran staff, Alberto, Manuel and Hector, to meet the growing demand for grassroots organizing in El Salvador. Seeing the success of municipal organizing campaigns like the one in La Galilea, Catholic and Anglican bishops and clergy have invited COFOA to partner with local parishes in San Salvador, Soyopango, and Cuidad de Arce. These are among the most violent cities in El Salvador.
Karla Avenivar grew up in Soyopango and vowed to fight for families like hers who a trying to make it their home. She has gained the trust of pastors and is reaching out to parish leaders to join this fight. Father Domingo Solís and leaders at St. Francis Assisi are in the middle of a listening campaign. Fr Lopez and twenty leaders from St. Andrew the Apostle Episcopal Parish are doing the same in the Antepec community of Soypango. In San Salvador, Fr. José Renderos has invited Karla to work with his parish in Barrio Santa Anita. After introducing COFOA to five other priests in the area, Fr. Hector Cruz asked Karla to begin work at Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe in Colonia Guatemala. Through face-to-face, house and community meetings, leaders are hearing the pressures families face in these neighborhood. In addition to rampant violence, access to clean water, trash-filled streets, and lack of social job opportunities for youth are the problems that Karla and new COFOA leaders plan to tackle.
Wilber Hernandez is a trusted parish leader at St. Rose of Lima Paris. After helping the parish leadership team successfully press the mayor of Cuidad de Arce for road local improvements and a pedestrian bridge across a dangerous highway, Fr. Jose Leon invited Wilber and COFOA leaders to share their experience with 60 priests and lay leaders from 9 other parishes in the area. Wilber is now doing outreach to build a team at St. John Vianni Parish.
Jose grew up in the rural town of Santa Maria Ostuma. Motivated by his faith, Jose joined the leadership team at his parish and led their fight to get water service for hundreds of families who were paying the bill for water that was never delivered. Jose joined the COFOA staff early this year and is supporting leadership teams in La Paz fight to make municipal governments accountable to community priorities.
COFOA now works in five departments (La Paz, Usulutan, San Vicente, La Libertad, and San Salvador), home to over 4 million people. Your support will help make Karla, Wilber, Jose and all the COFOA staff and leaders successful in their struggle to make El Salvador a safe and prosperous home for themselves and their children.