Project "Siempre listos” (Always Prepared): 20 Scouts from El Salvador Become Part of the Solution
For the world El Salvador is known for its daily problems of crime and high daily mortality rate. The difficult conditions of the country after a series of earthquakes in 2001 were the justification for extending the state of temporary protection to illegal citizens of El Salvador in the United States. High unemployment and lack of opportunities make young Salvadorans vulnerable to the recruitment of transnational criminal gangs. All these factors contribute to making it difficult for young Salvadorans to envision a positive future for themselves in their own country, fueling illegal immigration.
For this reason, the project “Siempre listos” (always prepared has been created in conjunction with the US embassy through the development of opportunities and experiences for 20 young Salvadorans. During their stay in the United States, participants will conduct team training, leadership development and emergency preparedness exercises with members of two or more BSA troops, along with other organizations serving as volunteers or community response organizers. United States peer exposure may be expected to increase the level in terms of expectations for the leadership role that young people can and should play in their communities. Participants would also benefit from meetings with City / County emergency response coordinators to learn about international best practices in disaster preparedness.
A couple of days ago, as a response to the tornado that caused destruction on May 28th in Kansas City outside Lawrence, it crossed Pleasant Grove, Bonner Springs and Linwood. They carried out cleaning work activities to help citizens who have suffered material losses. In El Salvador destruction by tornadoes does not exist yet young people easily related to Kansas residents for their own experience in the destruction caused by earthquakes in their homeland.
Upon their return, the 20 scouts and the Scout Association of El Salvador will work together with the Red Cross of El Salvador to support an additional 100 young people in disaster response preparedness and other needs. Then an online network will be formed to discuss tips and stories. In the event of a disaster, the online network will serve as a real-time communication tool to identify affected areas and target assistance to the most deprived communities, providing young people with a structured way to respond and provide leadership in their communities.
This experience has already changed lives, one of them, like Diego Linares who shares the following: “My experience during this week has been amazing, I have met and learned from many people, all of them are amazing at Camp Naish. Its culture is very different from ours, yet it is one of the best adventures of my life. I participated in kayak, archery and First Aids, two of those activities I would hardly do in my life, especially Kayak, so I was a great opportunity, and well taken advantage of. The new friendships made at Camp Naish are one of the reasons why this trip is even more worthwhile: now I have more than 20 new friends! And they all had something to show me. In short, this has ultimately been one of the best weeks of my life, and I feel ready and determined to learn and bring to my beloved country all the knowledge that I will have in the coming weeks.”
Communications Comission, Scouts of El Salvador