Testimonial Report on Youth Displaced by Violence – English Summary Now Available

In June, the Working Group on Forced Displacement released a testimonial report on forced displacement (Spanish) in El Salvador, focusing on the stories of families of children, youth, and adolescents who are forced to lives this reality every day. Some of these testimonies have been summarized and translated, and are now available online in English.

The following is a reflection from Corie Welch, a volunteer translator for Cristosal. Corie is currently a senior at Clark University studying International Development and Social Change, with a concentration in Latin American Studies.

I first became interested in learning about El Salvador when I was sixteen. Upon my return from visiting San Salvador with Cristosal, I started to continue learning about the country as best as I could on my own. Now, I study International Development and Social Change with a concentration in Latin American Studies at Clark University where, I’ve focused the majority of my independent research on learning more about El Salvador. So, when it comes to keeping myself updated on the situation in country, I like to think that I am relatively informed. Because gangs have become a prevalent subject in Salvadoran news, I’ve researched the impact of gang violence on development, geography, immigration, public policy and more. I was excited to read this report because I’m always interested in learning more about the situation in El Salvador. The report provided me with a new perspective, and in my opinion, the most important perspective, on gang violence; the report gave me insight into the lives of people who live through this terror every day.

The report provides a comprehensive breakdown of gang activity in El Salvador that includes personal testimonies from Salvadoran citizens. These testimonies are raw and eye opening to the experiences that people have undergone since the growth of gangs in the country. For me, the testimonies were heartbreaking as people explained what it actually is like to live in El Salvador right now. I am grateful for the opportunity to have read these testimonies to humanize the research that I have been conducting. As a student, I read articles and journals filled with statistics on the level of violence in the country. I can track the number of murders occurring each month or look at graphs that show the increased level of Salvadoran children coming to the US illegally, but this type of research distances me from the human side of this crisis. I feel that it helped to remind me that real people with families and dreams and fears are forced to live in an unsafe environment because of the increased prevalence of gang violence.

Evin Wolverton