Mission: To improve the lives of the people of san jose villanueva, el salvador by engaging in community development. For epilogos, community development means improving the quality of life in many areas, including health, education, housing, employment, water issues, energy and public sanitation. Epilogos is a nonprofit organization supported entirely by donations.
Programs: Housing*in 2014 a total of 55 students in kindergarten through grade 9 received financial support for their school costs, a sports uniform and a pair of gym shoes. This program developed support for needy students through the donations of international patrons from various countries* during the school year (from january until november) 77 high school students received school books and supplies, one uniform for regular classes and one uniform for sports and other basic needs. Thanks to the support of generous sponsors, the students will have support for all three years of high school as long as they continue to have good grades and follow the rules governing their deportment in school and outside of the school campus. * epilogos donates funds for a science teacher, a sub-director and a support teacher who helps students in math and computer skills at the largest school in san jose villanueva, the salvador mendieta school.
housing* epilogos worked with groups from the united states and canada who funded and constructed seven prefabricated houses for families in san jose villaneuva. The families pay up to 25% of the cost of the houses in monthly installments, according to their capacity to contribute. The funds collected are invested in other community projects. * epilogos worked with volunteer groups to fund and construct composting latrines for 4 families the groups had previously helped to build houses for. * roofing and siding material was purchased to have available for local residents to use for repairs during the rainy season. Residents are able to repair their adobe homes to withstand future rain, providing healthier and safer places to raise a family.
health* epilogos worked with a group from engineers without borders from duke university to complete the installation of two water tanks and a wash station that serves 100 families in an outlying village. Community members provided meals for the students and worked alongside the students in constructing the wash station. With these improvements families no longer need to walk the two miles to the river for water during the dry season. * 75 families received water filtration systems through epilogos. This project is designed to improve the general health of families throughout the municipality and to help those who have minimal resources to purchase purified water. The rotary clubs of el salvador help by paying for 50% of the filters and epilogos pays the other half of the costs. Recipients pay a small monthly amount toward the cost of the system. The funds collected from this project are reinvested in other community projects. * 2500 family size ecological stoves were provided to families with generous support from the rotary club of canada. These stoves benefit families of the municipality of san jose villanueva and help improve the health of those within the homes when used as instructed by the epilogos office. These stoves save on fuel (wood) and produce no smoke. Epilogos acquired three ecological stoves for small businesses who make pupusas or tortillas out of their home. Recipients pay a small monthly amount toward the cost of the system. The funds collected from this project are reinvested in other community projects. * the health clinic of san jose villanueva benefits from donations of basic medicines, small accessories, utensils, crutches, etc. These donations come down through many different groups of volunteers who come to visit and build houses, latrines, help out in the schools, etc.
* volunteers also bring clothing which is collected and then sold to villagers at nominal prices to raise additional funds in support of the community projects. Eplogos strives to be respectful of the dignity of the residents of the community. The clothing sale is a festive event that raises additional funds for community projects. Epilogos raised close to $5600 through the clothing sale and from funds collected from the "sale" of homes, cook stoves and water filtration systems. These funds were reinvested primarily in home repair supplies. * epilogos again supported sports in the community with soccer balls, soft balls and other equipment which benefits teams of both women and men. Much of the equipment was brought down by various groups who came to volunteer and to visit the town of san jose villanueva. * epilogos was invited to support a new arts and theater group founded by community members. The group serves about 100 young adults with the goal of steering them away from gang activity. Public performances are held on saint days and other community holidays. Epilogos is working with the group to acquire video production equipment and establish a web site.
There are so many good causes! I chose to be on the board of Epilogos Charities because I felt it was an organization that made a lasting difference in a third world community. I had heard too many stories of "Santa Claus" organizations which made no lasting change in a community they served. With Epilogos there is a year round presence and accountability of how money is spent. The community of San Jose Villanueva(SJV) has a strong sense that they must have some "ownership" of projects. This can be through sweat equity or a monthly payment from their $5 a day salary. My first introduction to the community was by participating in a scholarship program. For $180 per year I could send someone to a year of high school. I received a photograph of my student and three report cards each year. The student I had been assigned walked 2 1/2 hours to school in the morning and 2 1/2 hours back in the evening. I know this to be a fact because when I went to her graduation I drove the road she walked everyday so that I could attend a graduation party at her home. Then there is Mike and Susie Jenkins. They are retired Peace Corp workers who have "retired" to El Salvador. They have been in SJV for 10 years and have gained the respect and trust of the community. When I send money for anything I know it will be spent wisely because Mike and Susie are there on a full-time basis overseeing things. As part of their staff they have hired the town's first college graduate, Graciela. She is someone who has a "give back the place where you come from" mentality. This is a rare quality in a third world country. Please visit the Epilogos website (www.epilogos.org) to learn much more about this unique and selfless organization. Ed Warreh