On March 25th the new The Center for Integral Community
Development, CIDECO, was blessed and inaugurated in La Herradura, El
Salvador. The initiative provides new homes for 115 families who
lost everything in the two tremendous earthquakes of 2001. Each
apartment is 70 square meters and comes complete with three
bedrooms, living room, dining room, kitchen, bathroom and a small
|The inauguration of the complex was presided over by the Apostolic Nuncio of El Salvador, Bishop Giacinto Berloco.|
The inauguration of the complex was presided over by
the Apostolic Nuncio of El Salvador, Bishop Giacinto Berloco. Among
the participants in the ceremony were the vice president of
the republic, Carlos Quintanilla, and Father Alejandro Ortega, LC, territorial
director of the Legion of Christ in
History of the Project
In January and February of
2001, El Salvador was ravaged by two massive earthquakes that
caused the deaths of 1,259 people and destroyed more than
153,000 homes. Nearly one-sixth of the population was left homeless.
This disaster awakened a spirit of solidarity throughout the country
and the whole world.
A group of Regnum Christi members offered a concrete solution to this natural
disaster by organizing an initiative entitled Solidarity Saturdays, where groups
of volunteers would collect food and other goods on Saturdays
to help those families most in need. Fundamental to the
effort was the work of the Evangelizadores de Tiempo Completo,
Catholic World Mission´s full-time lay
missionaries, who scoured the countryside
to bring the earthquake victims to relief sites and who
directed the distribution of aid.
|The vice president of El Salvador, Carlos Quintanilla, presents one of the families with the keys to their new apartment.|
After this first initiative, many
volunteers and businessmen realized how desperate the need for a
more stable and lasting solution truly was. Striving to fulfill
that goal, in the first months of 2002, construction began
on the CIDECO in La Herradura on the outskirts of
San Salvador, the area most devastated by the quakes.
´Living Stones:´ CIDECO "La Herradura"
In addition to the 115 homes,
the new CIDECO includes a bilingual school, Mano Amiga San
Antonio, which covers preschool to high school. It is also
equipped with the Our Lady of Lourdes medical clinic, built
with the help of the local and international governments under
the supervision of the medical school of the Anáhuac University
of Mexico. These facilities will serve not only residents but
the entire surrounding area.
Another important facet is the community
center where residents can take part in social activities. Still
on the construction list is The Integral Training Center whose
focus will be to help residents learn trades and improve
their quality of life.
The residents all have found employment and
on-the-job training in the nearby industrial corridor established by the
federal government. This provides these families the first financial
stability they have ever experienced.
The second part of the construction
project, which will more than double the number of homes,
will begin shortly bringing even greater hope and joy
to the citizens of El Salvador. Each home costs $7,000
to build, but through a ´matching program´ with the El
Salvador government, new homeowners will receive a low-interest mortgage for
half that amount if donors will put up the first
half of the cost. For just $3,500, you can
provide a family with a dignified home. Donations in any
amount may be made through Catholic World Mission. See
the website www.CatholicWorldMission.org and donate on-line, specifying
´Living Stones´ as the project you would like to support,
or send checks to Catholic World Mission ´Living Stones,´ 33
Rossotto Drive, Hamden, CT 06514.
(June 3, 2003)