About El Salvador
Discover this country's culture, history, and more

Communities in this country:

El Salvador

Located on the Pacific Coast of Central America between Guatemala and Honduras, El Salvador is the smallest and most densely populated country in Central America. El Salvador experiences frequent earthquakes and volcanic activity, making it known as the “land of volcanoes.”

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  • Population
    6,193,000
  • Land mass
    8,123 sq. mi.
  • Life Expectancy
    72 years
  • Under Age 5 Mortality Rate
    16/1000
  • Literacy Rate
    84%
  • School Enrollment
    94%
  • Access to Safe Water
    87%
  • Average Annual Income (GNI)
    3,360

US Comparison to El Salvador

El Salvador United States
Population
6,193,000
307,000,000
Land Mass
8,123
3,794,083 sq miles
Life Expectancy
72 years
78 years
Infant Mortality
16/1000
7/1000
Literacy Rate
84%
97%
School Enrollment
94%
92%
Access to Safe Water
87%
100%
Average Annual Income
$3,360
$41,400
Statistics from UNICEF & World Factbook

  • About seven percent of Salvadoran workers are unemployed and over 30 percent of people live below the poverty line.
  • Crime rates remain very high in El Salvador, negatively affecting the economy. Increasing gang-related violence among youth led to all-time high level of homicide and other crimes in 2009.
  • The World Food Program estimates that 18 percent of children under age 5 are chronically under-nourished.

Child Sponsorship

Through sponsorship, World Vision is partnering with families and communities to help meet immediate needs and promote lasting changes that will strengthen communities and move families toward self-reliance.

Each year sponsors receive updates about their sponsored child and their community. Sponsors also learn about the child's continuing activities and new accomplishments so when they correspond with their child, they can encourage them in their education, hobbies and endeavors.

The commitment of World Vision sponsors helps provide children with love, hope, and opportunities for a healthy, productive future. May God bless sponsors as they make a lasting difference in the life of a special child.

World Vision in El Salvador Today

World Vision is committed to partnering with the people of El Salvador to improve their lives today and to help enact sustainable solutions for the future of their children, families, and communities. World Vision’s child sponsorship program plays a vital role in this partnership, with donors from the United States sponsoring more than 21,500 girls and boys. In addition to sponsorship, World Vision operates other programs that benefit communities in El Salvador. Highlights include:

  • Improving educational quality and opportunities for children.
  • Helping provide adequate care for children and adolescents with physical and/or speech impairments
  • Offering loans to Salvadorans struggling with poverty in order to help improve their lives.

World Vision History in El Salvador

World Vision began its work in El Salvador in 1975, initiating a child sponsorship program through five school projects. Since then, some of World Vision’s major accomplishments have included:

  • Offering communities education, nutrition, healthcare, literacy, and job resources during the 1980s.
  • Providing relief supplies and aid to thousands of people affected by two major earthquakes in 1986.
  • Helping communities recover and rebuild after the end of the civil war since 1992.
  • Encouraging economic development by providing credit to families in the 1990s.
  • Assisting thousands of people with food, water, medicine, and other relief supplies after natural disasters since the beginning of the 21st century.

Geography & People

Geography and people

Located on the Pacific Coast of Central America between Guatemala and Honduras, El Salvador is the smallest and most densely populated country in Central America. El Salvador experiences frequent earthquakes and volcanic activity, making it known as the “land of volcanoes.”

The climate is tropical along the coast and more temperate in the highlands. Natural resources include hydropower, geothermal power, petroleum, and arable land.

About 90 percent of Salvadorans are mestizo—mixed Amerindian and Spanish heritage. Nearly everyone speaks Spanish, the country’s official language, although people also speak English and the native language Nahua.

Salvadorans are industrious people, valuing hard work over income level. Even those who are unemployed or struggle with poverty work hard to provide food, clothing, and other essentials for their families.

History

In 1821, El Salvador and several other Central American provinces declared independence from Spain and formed the United Provinces of Central America. El Salvador became an independent republic after the federation disbanded in the late 1830s.

Frequent revolutions marked the country’s early history. El Salvador did not achieve national stability until the early 20th century. Following a decline in democracy in the 1970s, a period of civil war plagued the country from 1980 to 1992, killing more than 75,000 people.

As El Salvador began recovering from the war, Hurricane Mitch hit in 1998, and a series of earthquakes shook the country in 2001. Since then, several more natural disasters have impacted El Salvador, including tropical storms Ida in 2009 and Agatha in 2010.

Prayer Requests for El Salvador

Please pray for:

That early childhood development centers would be successful at preparing kids to succeed in first grade.

That young people involved in gangs would find opportunities to safely reintegrate into society.

2013
Community News

Thanks to the generous support of our sponsors, World Vision was able to work alongside communities to accomplish the following in 2013.

Christian Commitment

  • Helped people participate in Bible reading groups and strengthen their relationships with family, neighbors, and God.

Healthcare

  • Worked with parents of young children through a program called “Circles of Good Health and Nutrition.” Parents learned about simple ways to prevent disease, like appropriate hand-washing techniques, and also learned about good nutritional practices, such as the benefits of breastfeeding and how to establish community garden plots.

Education

  • Enabled kids ages 7 to 12 to participate in community children’s clubs, where they learned skills to help them succeed at school and values to help strengthen their family relationships.
  • Trained teachers and supported early childhood development centers, benefiting kids under the age of 5 with age-appropriate educational and social skills.
  • Encouraged moms and dads to support their children’s education by participating in parent committees, which provide support to children and youth clubs in the community.

Emergency Response

  • Assisted emergency preparedness groups in the community, providing them with training in disaster prevention and response strategies.

Child Rights

  • Helped young people ages 13-20 participate in youth clubs, where they learned faith-based values and life skills in health, disaster preparedness, and communication, and were encouraged to develop goals for their lives.
  • Worked with local citizens and government institutions to organize child protection committees, which promote the well-being of children through community activities and festivals, helping ensure girls and boys can live in a safer environment.
  • Helped train future leaders through municipal youth councils, giving young people a place to express their opinions, build their confidence, and participate in making their community a better place to live.

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