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El Salvador violence affects CFCA areas

June 29, 2010

SANTA ANA, El Salvador — Violence in El Salvador has escalated to the point where it is directly impacting CFCA sponsored members, their families and staff.

Two buses were attacked the evening of June 20 in the neighborhood of Mejicanos, north of San Salvador. Gunmen opened fire on a bus with an 8-year-old sponsored girl, her 11-year-old sister, and their mother on board. The sponsored girl, Tatiana, was shot in the leg and hospitalized. Her sister, Marleni, was shot and killed.

“The mother had no physical injuries but received the worst wound a mother could receive: the loss of her child,” Henry Flores, director of the CFCA El Salvador communications center, said.

Minutes later, men on motorcycles intercepted another bus and set it on fire, killing 16. Among the deceased was the father of two sponsored youths, ages 15 and 13. Sponsors of children impacted by both incidents have been notified by CFCA.

Tatiana will be hospitalized most of this week and is expected to return home Friday.

“She is recovering physically, but will need therapy to overcome the trauma of the event she went through,” Flores said.

CFCA serves more than 12,500 children, youth and aging members in El Salvador through a coordinating project in Santa Ana and 33 subprojects spread throughout the country. About 900 sponsored friends and their families from communities north of San Salvador are served by a subproject in Mejicanos, where the attacks occurred.

The violence touched a staff member from the subproject when three members of her husband’s family were killed. Staff members have been authorized to leave work an hour earlier to help ensure their safety.

“The critical condition of the country is creating a tremendous amount of anxiety among the people,” Flores said. “The current wave of violence in El Salvador is very complex and is generated by many different aspects. In spite of this reality, the spirit of the sponsored families and staff stays strong.”

CFCA’s Hope for a Family program cultivates a climate of non-violence through programs that focus on the physical and emotional well-being of sponsored members and their families. CFCA communities in El Salvador, for example, have organized sports tournaments to provide some fun and a positive outlet for coping with stress. Families in the program also form a support network in which they encourage each other and promote unity in their communities.

Please pray for an end to the violence and for the safety and well-being of sponsored members, their families, the CFCA staff, and for all in El Salvador.

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