TACOMA, Washington — In El Salvador, women make up 43.6% of the country’s poverty rate. Many women living in extreme poverty struggle to maintain their families and do not have access to education. Facing these conditions, they often encounter violence in their communities. In 2019, Time magazine published an article that stated that the increased violence against women in El Salvador was driving them to the U.S. border. The NGO organization Siramá Foundation is addressing this social injustice issue by providing education for women in El Salvador.
The Siramá Foundation
Siramá is a Salvadorian non-governmental organization that aims to educate women in vulnerable conditions to become agents of their own development, families and society. The NGO offers professional education in computer science, culinary arts, handcrafts and cosmetology.
However, Siramá provides more than intellectual and practical education. “We believe that we should educate in all human dimensions: physical, emotional, mental, social and spiritual,” Silvia Guevara, executive director of Siramá, told The Borgen Project.
Siramá was founded to promote and provide education for women in El Salvador. After a few years, the organization became a technical training center for women. Thanks to Siramá’s efforts, more than 45,000 women have graduated and created their own micro-enterprises.
The NGO’s headquarters are located in El Salvador’s capital city and Soyapango, the most densely populated municipalities.
Promoting Social Change
The organization has witnessed several personal growth stories since it was founded in 1970. For instance, in 2015, Suyapa Morales Alvarado, a graduate from Siramá, shared her story on overcoming poverty through education.
Morales lives in Soyapango, an area in El Salvador where violence threatens women every day. She studied computer science in Siramá and created a project to renew the overhead cables in her community, which she successfully accomplished.
“We do not have to die in the same economic conditions in which we were born. Our future state depends on the effort we make today,” said Morales. She explained how Siramá enabled her to perceive her strengths, learn how to develop them and contribute to her community.
Siramá provides education for women in El Salvador not only because it believes that education can diminish poverty and violence, but because education can bring positive social change.
What Does Siramá Offer?
Among other programs, Siramá’s eight-month technical training consists of:
- Business development: learning strategies to create a business.
- Introduction courses for micro-enterprises: learning how to face challenges.
- Specialized courses like “Artisan of Peace”: learning how to address violence against women through education. “The program teaches women to establish peace in their own homes, which creates a ripple effect in their communities,” explained Guevara.
Siramá intends to answer a social problem that affects Salvadoran families. The lack of studies available for women triggers not only economic problems but also humanitarian issues. Guevara stated that by providing education for women, Siramá could “accompany Salvadoran women in their needs, promote their dreams and enable each one to rebuild their country.”
– Paola Arriaza Avilés