Author: Salesian Missions

Publication Date: April 03, 2024

Bicycling into the Future

Like most kids her age, 9-year-old René had always dreamed of having her own bike—one she could ride to school, to visit her friends, and to explore. But she never thought her dream would come true—until kind friends like you came along.

Thanks to our generous supporters, we recently helped secure and deliver 120 bicycles to youth living in the cantons of Tonacatepeque. This impoverished municipality of San Salvador, El Salvador is plagued by widespread violence which often trickles down into family life. To make matters worse, a recently enacted government law meant to bring order to a country tormented by gang-related homicide, has caused unintentional consequences—as many as 1 in 6 innocent people are arrested and jailed, with no due process to depend upon.

“The number of kids who come from broken homes is hard to wrap your mind around,” says Father Mike Conway, director of Salesian Missions. “These girls and boys shouldn’t have a care in the world, yet they’re left to grapple with the emotional consequences of a law that’s robbed them of one or both parents.

“On top of that,” he continues, “many youth must trade their childhoods and their education for work. Without parents to financially support the family, they have no other choice.”

That’s where our Salesian missionaries come in.

For more than a century, these dedicated men and women of Don Bosco have served impoverished children and families throughout El Salvador. Through the Laura Vicuña Pro Education Foundation in San Salvador, missionaries operate schools and shelters for at-risk children; job training workshops for youth and adults; day care centers; school-based nutrition programs; and more.

That’s why, after securing the bicycles, our office arranged to transport them to Laura Vicuña for distribution to youth in need. To make it fun, missionaries held a voluntary athletic competition and the winners received a bike.

“At first I didn’t want to compete; I was afraid that others would beat me,” said 9-year-old Nikol. “In the second round, I went for it and won.” Another winner, 11-year-old Oscar, explained, “the bike is too big for me, but I can reach it and I can ride it. I am very happy!”

“The bikes will serve a practical purpose while infusing a little joy into these children’s lives,” Fr. Mike said. “Single parents—especially mothers—will also be able to use them as transportation to get to work, or to sell items at the market. This will keep more children in school and on track to realize brighter futures.”

Learn more about our work in El Salvador.

Our mission empowers marginalized youth by providing essential goods and services to ease their daily struggles of life. What’s your mission?

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