A Story of Hope from
El Salvador

Dignity of Work and Rights of Workers

Catholic social teaching inspires and guides how we are to live and work in the world. In this principle, Dignity of Work and Rights of Workers, we remember that Jesus spent years working as a carpenter. Work is important to help people live good lives, and so people must be paid a fair wage to provide for themselves and their families.

Encounter Fernando

Fernando dreams of becoming a businessman. He also dreams of a better future for his family, and this motivates him to sell cookbooks on San Salvador’s buses. It’s dangerous work for $10 a day—gangs frequently stop and harass drivers and passengers—but he keeps going, determined to achieve his dreams.

It was his dreams that led him to YouthBuild, a six-month, CRS-sponsored program that trains young people in business. There, he found a positive community to help him pursue his passion, despite the challenges of life in El Salvador. “When I tell my classmates that I want to do something, they tell me to try it and to not hold back.”

Training for six months with YouthBuild wasn’t easy on Fernando or his family. Without his wife to support him and care for their two young daughters, the early mornings and long days might have been impossible. “YouthBuild is a family because families help you realize your dreams,” Fernando says. It’s a fact he knows well.

Fernando is putting his newfound skills to work. After graduating from YouthBuild in 2016, he took part in a series of entrepreneur workshops organized by CRS and is currently working on a new business plan. He is also a part of the YouthBuild network of graduates, youth leaders who mentor other young people and look for new opportunities for employment and growth.

“We have a saying,” says Fernando. “Once a YouthBuilder, always a YouthBuilder.”

*YouthBuild is a member of the YouthBuild International network.

Learn more about CRS’ work in El SalvadorAnd reflect on the life and legacy of El Salvador’s saintly Blessed Oscar Romero.

Try our simple meal from El Salvador: Pupusas with cheese.