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A Fresh Start for 115 families in El Salvador: The ´Living Stones´ Project
| APOSTOLATE | NEWS
A community-building initiative called ´Living Stones´is being supported by Catholic World Mission, the Legion apostolate for the poor based in Hamden, CT.

CIDECO El Salvador
The inauguration of the complex was presided over by the Apostolic Nuncio of El Salvador, Bishop Giacinto Berloco.
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 garden.

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 Mexico.

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
CIDECO El Salvador
The vice president of El Salvador, Carlos Quintanilla, presents one of the families with the keys to their new apartment.
missionaries, who scoured the countryside to bring the earthquake victims to relief sites and who directed the distribution of aid.

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.

Description of ´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)


PUBLICATION DATE: 2003-06-03


 

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Sponsored by the congregation of the Legionaries of Christ and the Regnum Christi Movement, Copyright 2011, Legion of Christ. All rights reserved.


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