Efforts to aid migration crisis in El Salvador featured in lecture series


The Reformed Calvinist Church of El Salvador is currently providing aid to help the current migration crisis the country faces.

Carmen Elena Diaz Anzora, an international peacemaker, and her interpreter, Joseph Russ, gave a presentation on the Reformed Calvinist Church of El Salvador’s efforts to aid people in the migration crisis in El Salvador.

The presentation was part of a lecture series created as a collaborative effort between the Office of the Provost and Student Government to bring a broad range of free talks, debates, forms, events and performances.

Anzora, who serves as the coordinator of the education program and is on the coordinating team for the church’s Migrant Ministry, shares that the Reformed Calvinist Church was founded when missionaries came to El Salvador to form churches in the 70s and 80s.

Due to the civil wars that broke out, many missionaries left, leaving the people they recruited to pick up the pieces.

Now, the churches have a focus on cultures of peace, climate change, migration, mission, evangelization and food security, Anzora said.

After beginning the presentation by talking about El Salvador’s location, size, population, average age and poverty rate, Anzora transitioned to the main issue of the event: the migration crisis.

Anzora provided a brief history of the past 100 years of migration and brought the audience up to date with what has happened and where the issue currently stands.

“Our work began in 2014 when there was a crisis of unaccompanied migrants,” Russ translated. “Many people in El Salvador sent their children just alone or with a guide, and these children were refuted from the U.S. southern border back to El Salvador.”

Among the possible reasons for migrations, Anzora explained lack of healthcare, poverty, climate change, natural disasters, family reunification, increased violence and gangs in the region are contributing factors.

“More than 26% of the young adult population between the ages of 15-24 years of age do not go to school or go to work,” Russ translated for Anzora. “This is another major migration for our population.”

The number of kids and adults returned was too much for El Salvador’s government to handle. This is when the Reformed Calvinist Church of El Salvador, along with others, came together to donate cots, blankets and food.

The churches continue to work together to help migrants in various situations. Most of this includes providing migrants a place to stay, something to eat, psychosocial and medical support, and helping them find a family if needed.

Anzora said these services are offered because when migrants return, they often have nothing except the clothes on their backs.

The Reformed Calvinist Church of El Salvador is currently working on attacking the main cause of migration.

“We are seeking an alliance with the vice president of the Republic, which has a system for agriculture development that is designed to support rural areas,” Russ interpreted. “We are working with them in hopes to form new initiatives that will give people a better condition to live in.”