From the Worldwide Faith News archives

Salvadoran Government Officially Recognizes LWF Contribution

From "Frank Imhoff" <>
Date Mon, 27 Jan 2003 12:48:30 -0600

FEATURE: "These Beautiful Houses"
Salvadoran Government Officially Recognizes LWF Contribution to

SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador/GENEVA, 27 January 2003 (LWI) - Antonia
Posada sieves sand under the blistering mid-day heat. She is
mixing concrete to finalize work on her home bathroom at the San
Lorenzo housing project in the central department of La Paz, 40
kilometers (25 miles) southeast of San Salvador. "I feel quite
happy and I always will be thankful to God and all those people
who have helped us to own these beautiful houses," Posada remarks
as she adjusts her hat.

On 13 January 2001, an earthquake measuring 7.9 on the Richter
Scale struck El Salvador, resulting in the death of 844 people and
thousands more injured. Posada's house was among the 277,858 that
were damaged or completely destroyed.

Exactly one month later on February 13, another tremor brought
more destruction and mourning to Salvadorans. The second
earthquake hit the country's central region claiming 322 lives and
leaving thousands injured. More than 100,000 houses were

The United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the
Caribbean (CEPAL) put the economic losses after both earthquakes
at USD 1,603.8 million.

"It brings me sad memories, I have flash-backs of so many deaths
and homeless people," recalls 53-year-old hard-working Antonia,
whose only desire is to move into her new home and resume her
baby-sitting job.

The Salvadoran Lutheran Synod, Geneva-based Lutheran World
Federation (LWF) and Action by Churches Together (ACT
International)---a worldwide network of churches and related
agencies meeting human need through emergency response---provided
technical and financial assistance toward the San Lorenzo housing
project. All the beneficiaries spent several weeks building their
individual houses.

The 78-unit project is nearing completion. Beneficiaries also hope
to obtain more funding to build a day-care center, school,
community house and health clinic.

Pedro Rodriguez, a community leader, has already settled into his
new place. "It's great what the LWF has done for all of us living
here," Pedro says. Another five families have taken up residence
in San Lorenzo; a name derived from the St. Lawrence Lutheran
Community in Canada, which donated the land for the housing

San Lorenzo is one of several permanent-housing initiatives
implemented by the LWF and ACT after the two violent earthquakes
in El Salvador. Community residents in nine departments, including
407 families, have received assistance to construct permanent
houses. The LWF is a founding member of ACT.

On 13 January 2003, during the official commemoration of the
second anniversary of the first earthquake, the Government of El
Salvador officially recognized the LWF and ACT contribution toward
the country's reconstruction process. As the award states, each
organization was recognized "for its invaluable contribution in
the reconstruction of our country...that [has] brought happiness
to thousands of families by providing a new and appropriate home
and improved their living conditions." The document is signed by
Salvadoran President Francisco Flores on behalf of all
beneficiaries. Other national and international agencies also were

For Rudelmar Bueno de Faria, the LWF Department for World Service
(DWS) representative in El Salvador and Guatemala, "The
recognition is very significant for the Lutheran and global
ecumenical community." He noted that it was also an
acknowledgement "for the dedication and commitment of our staff
during this process."

Two years after the earthquakes, President Flores claimed to have
"overcome almost all reconstruction expectations" with the
construction of 64,000 permanent houses. But a large number of
those who lost homes continue to live under makeshift shelters in
temporary communities. The earthquakes left more than one and a
half million people homeless.

Perhaps that is why Ana Guadalupe Mata is grateful to have her own
house at the San Lorenzo project. "I thank God for the opportunity
to have a house, a house that will be for my growing children

(By Raul Gutierrez, El Salvador/Guatemala LWF/DWS communication

(The LWF is a global communion of Christian churches in the
Lutheran tradition. Founded in 1947 in Lund (Sweden), the LWF now
has 136 member churches in 76 countries representing over 61.7
million of the 65.4 million Lutherans worldwide. The LWF acts on
behalf of its member churches in areas of common interest such as
ecumenical relations, theology, humanitarian assistance, human
rights, communication, and the various aspects of mission and
development work. Its secretariat is located in Geneva,

[Lutheran World Information (LWI) is LWF's information
service.Unless specifically noted, material presented does not
represent positions or opinions of the LWF or of its various
units. Where the dateline of an article contains the notation
(LWI), the material may be freely reproduced with acknowledgment.]

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English Editor: Pauline Mumia
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