Encounter El Salvador is a 10-day International Immersion experience in partnership between Loyola's Center for Community Service and Justice and CRISPAZ (Christians for Peace in El Salvador).
"We are a faith-based organization dedicated to the mutual accompaniment with the church of the poor and marginalized communities in El Salvador. In building bridges of solidarity between communities in El Salvador and those in our home countries, we strive together for peace, justice, and human liberation. as an organization, we are politically non-partisan and committed in nonviolence."
- CRISPAZ Mission Statement
The group spends the majority of their time in the capital city of San Salvador, learning about the many issues facing the Salvadoran people as well as the work that is being done by social service agencies and NGO’s, religious and educational institutions and the government. The Loyola group spends the weekend in a rural community outside of San Salvador, living with host families, joining them in some of their everyday activities and learning about the community.
Established in 1998, Encounter El Salvador has many unique features that distinguish it from Project Mexico. The team has a total of 15 members. There are 9 undergraduate students, 4 graduate students, faculty, staff and/or administrators and 2 co-coordinators. The trip to El Salvador happens after graduation in late May. There are no student leaders, and the time in El Salvador does not include direct service, but what we like to call service of presence, or a solidarity immersion trip.
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"Encounter El Salvador is exactly what I needed to open my mind to the issues that are going on in other countries and to experience first-hand the struggles of war... I would challenge anyone who is interested in this program to look into it. You will laugh, cry and connect on this trip."
- El Salvador Participant