El Salvador is the smallest country in Central America though it is the 3rd densely populated country in the region. El Salvador first achieved independence from Spain in 1821 and from the Central American federation in 1839.
A peace agreement by the United Nations ended the 12-year civil war in 1992, but the country still suffers from a divided society. Violent “mara” street gangs have left the country with one of the world’s highest murder rates.
Central America has consistently been among the most violent regions in the world for the past 40 years. Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador – also called “the northern triangle” are still experiencing the aftermath of decades of Civil War in the region that left a legacy of violence and fragile institutions.
Play for Peace El Salvador Club was created by Fatima Landaverde, a native of El Salvador. She learned about Play for Peace a few years ago and immediately wanted to join our community and start a club in her home country. A passionate peacebuilder who works with local youth in Suchitoto, El Salvador, Fatima soon had the participation of young people in the area.
Suchitoto was very affected by the civil war that occurred between 1980 and 1992, and the people there are still dealing with its effects. Gang violence is a huge challenge for children and youth, not only the fear of violence but the concern that young people will join these gangs and continue the cycle of violence. For this community, Play for Peace is a chance for everyone to live in peace.
As of March 2022, the country experienced one of the deadliest days since the beginning of the pandemic from gang violence. Play for Peace El Salvador Club is up running in-person workshops again and gathering new youth from neighboring communities to come together and stand against the violence.
"I felt comfortable with the children who played with us although I had never seen them since it is not common for me to go out and visit this community of Palo Grande. I felt that the children accepted our presence as a Play for Peace group. I loved facilitating the games because we had fun and gained trust and empathy."
Play for Peace Participant
El Salvador Club
At the beginning of December Regional Coordinator, Andres Armas traveled from Guatemala to El Salvador to conduct a Play for Peace session with the Suchitoto Club. A friend and writer of Andres, Veronica Rozotto joined to document her experience. Thank you Veronica for sharing this beautiful piece with us!
After 2 years of continual lockdowns, Play for Peace was finally able to travel back to El Salvador for a club reactivation session.
We are always excited when Play for Peace spreads to new communities and new countries where people can greatly benefit from our peace building efforts. Just this past weekend, we hosted a training in El Salvador that was so successful that we are starting the country's first club.