After building 54 homes in two communities in El Salvador, we are now beginning an ambitious community for about 75 families in Nuevo Cuscutlan, which is just outside of San Salvador. The families are living in terrible conditions of mud, plastic, and rusty metal walls and roofs, usually with dirt floors. The steep hillside on which the homes are built presents a high risk for landslides and is a muddy, arduous hike for the families when they are hauling their water each day. Mosquitos breed in the mud and stagnant water and infect families with disease. To top it off, the families are facing eviction since they do not own the land on which they live, and the owner has other plans for it.
Working with our local Fuller Center Covenant Partner named Gente Ayudando Gente, the local city government, and an organization called New Story, we are partnering with these families to move into simple, decent homes built on land that they will truly own. The families become not just recepients, but donors as they work alongside the volunteers and builders and also pay the costs of construction forward on a no-profit, no-interest loan. Gente Ayudando Gente will also be constructing a Hope Center that will provide nutrition education and assistance as well as medical care, with a focus on women’s health. It will also help families access job training or start niche small businesses. With the home as the central pillar of this comprehensive approach, we are destroying the allure of gangs that has overtaken much of San Salvador. Together we are shining God’s light by breaking the cycle of poverty and making the world a better place.
Getting involved – There are several ways that you can get involved. Donate to support this specific partner. Volunteer on one of our El Salvador Global Builders teams, which you can learn more about below. Or join a trip as a virtual volunteer, choosing to donate your travel costs instead of making the trip. We make that fun — see virtual volunteering explained here.
House sponsorship cost: $6,000 Donate to this Covenant Partner
Learn the Basics – Area Info
El Salvador is the smallest Central American country and the only one without a coastline on the Caribbean Sea. With a popluation of about six million, it is one of the most densely populated countries in the world, with some 700,000 Salvadorans in need of decent, adequate housing.
An estimated 30.7 percent of the population lives below the poverty line, while over 40 percent of the rural population lives in homes with dirt floors and impermanent wall materials. Many Salvadoran families continue to struggle to survive while living in dilapidated housing subject to natural disasters such as flooding, mudslides and earthquakes.
About Volunteering in El Salvador
Our Global Builder trips to El Salvador are just a short flight from the U.S. and very affordable. Our teams spend 1-2 weeks building homes with families as they build cross-cultural friendships and learn about El Salvador.
Pricing – What’s Included
|Trip Length:||7-14 days (price varies depending on length)|
|Materials Provided:||-In-depth Guidebook outlining what to expect -Pre-trip safety training -Fundraising guide -Option to create online fundraising page -T-shirt and hat|
|Trip Support:||Yes – from trip leader and Global Builders staff|
|Clean Drinking Water:||Yes|
|Food:||Yes – 3 meals a day are provided|
|Transportation:||Yes – to and from the airport and work-site|
|Lodging Accommodations:||Hotel or Farmhouse (depends on group size)|
|Meaningful Work:||Yes – led and coordinated by dedicated Salvadorans|
|Travel Medical Insurance:||Yes|
|R&R Opportunities:||We’ll assist you in setting up sightseeing and cultural opportunities|
Click on the leader’s name to learn more about the leader and trip details. Click Join to apply for their trip. Have a spot reserved on a “Full” trip? Complete your registration here.
Learn more about what a trip is like
Type of Building
In general you will help us in the construction of new homes, although we sometimes have opportunities for Greater Blessings projects where we perform small repairs or improvements on existing homes. We also respond to emergency and disaster needs when we are able so please remain open to a variety of possibilities. Much of the volunteer work for these projects includes, but is not limited to, making and pouring lots of concrete, digging holes, and moving construction materials.
While it is always helpful to have Spanish speakers on your team, it is not a necessity. Spanish skills on the worksite will always be beneficial but are never required because most of your instructions will come from English speaking staff. In other cases where Spanish speaking skills are necessary, translation services will almost always be available.
Assuming your team has at least eight or so people, we will get you around in vans that seat about 15. This will include travel between the airport, your housing, the work site, and any tourism activities. Depending on where your group stays, you will either have a short walk or drive to the worksite everyday.
Groups will be staying at the Villa Olimpica 2 Residence which is a short drive to the work-site. There are double and triple rooms for teams to use with each room having its on shower and toilet. Breakfast and supper will also be served at this location.
Rest & Relaxation
Most teams stay in El Salvador for about 7 days, giving them 1-2 non-working days. El Salvador has many fun tourism opportunities and/or relaxing activities in which your group can participate. Groups in the past have visited a volcano, went zip lining, and visited the national artisan’s market. Try to have some ideas of what your team may enjoy as some things require advance time to setup. Other things like volcanoes and parks can be more spontaneous and decided upon when your team arrives. Each trip participant will receive a guidebook that will list all the R&R options.
While our work site is an active construction zone, it is also an active neighborhood with many families’ kids. Most of the time there will be a future home owner working on sweat equity hours working alongside your team. While some opportunities for interaction are provided (and kids are sure to follow you around), most interaction will require your initiative. Your group can plan activities with the community members or the kids or simply initiate casual conversations around the area.
Even if you can’t speak the language, acknowledging community members with a smile or “Hola!” can go a long way in developing a relationship or making people feel special. Opportunities with other community organizations (local schools, churches, orphanages, etc.) can sometimes be arranged in advance if your group is interested.
Are you unsure of how to prepare for such an experience or just looking for some tips on how to be better prepared? If so, we suggest you take a look at our Trip Preparation page where you will find a lot of helpful information and links – Preparing For Your Trip!
What happens after the trip?