July 3, 2013
By Simon Chambers
Through its developing Connections Program, PWRDF has provided a $25,000 grant to the Fundacion Cristosal human rights and community development program in El Salvador. The project will help to strengthen community organization and social coordination and provide legal assistance and education in human rights issues.
FundaciÃ³n Cristosal’s approach to community development positions those living in poverty as equal partners in the construction of development solutions, not as recipients of charity. The work of Cristosal’s team of lawyers, community organizers and development experts results in strengthened leadership and community organizations that generate solutions to development problems.
Since 2004 more than 33 members of St. Mary’s Kerrisdale in British Columbia have travelled to El Salvador, and the parish has raised at least $250,000.00 for human rights and development work. This is in support of their longstanding relationship with the Diocese of El Salvador and FundaciÃ³n Cristosal. A group called the Cristosal Base Community is active both in St Mary’s and in St Paul’s Cathedral in London Ontario, and is animating conversations about issues in El Salvador and encouraging financial support.
PWRDF has a history of engagement in human rights and community development in El Salvador that goes back over four decades. In its 1992 report to General Synod, it was noted that “The pursuit of human rights, and work with the victims of human rights violations, have been prominent in work supported by PWRDF in Latin America.” This included involvement in the human rights and refugee-related work as active members of the Inter-Church Committee on Human Rights in Latin America (ICCHRLA) and the Inter-Church Committee for Refugees (ICCR), as both organizations responded to El Salvador’s bloody twelve-year civil war (1980-1992).
In 1982 then-Primate Ted Scott together with the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church of the USA and the Archbishop of Canterbury made a joint public statement condemning the massacre of seven members of a cooperative farm in the village of La Florida, part of a social program of the Episcopal Church in El Salvador; a program that PWRDF had funded with support from CIDA (Canadian International Development Agency).
In post-war El Salvador PWRDF has supported a range of programs including community development projects in the returned refugee community of Santa Marta, CabaÃ±as, a youth-led HIV-AIDS project and a groundbreaking environmental study on the impacts of a proposed Canadian mining development in rural El Salvador.
As well, PWRDF has “come alongside” the Cristosal Base Communities by combining its operating and administrative strengths with the goals and fundraising strengths of the Base Communities. PWRDF will receive funds from the supporting parishes which will further support the human rights and community development project, and will also provide administrative, monitoring and reporting support.
PWRDF’s Connections Program will enable Canadian Anglicans and PWRDF partners to experience more, different and closer connections to their mutual ministry and work through PWRDF partners’ programs and projects. Connections will bring people together in new ways, eliciting new gifts and resources for all concerned. Interested in making a connection with a PWRDF project? Contact Carolyn Vanderlip at 416-924-9199 ext 266, or [email protected]