In the last five years, over 62,000 children from El Salvadorhave arrived at the U.S. border without their parents. The risk of this dangerous journey, along routes controlled by criminal smugglers, outweighs the dangers at home, where gangland wars between MS-13 and Barrio 18 have led to El Salvador having the world's highest murder rate for children. Even schools are not exempt from violence. "We fear reprisals from the gangs. Any decision you take and they don't like, like disciplinary action against a pupil, can bring a threat," says one teacher.
The Salvadoran government has made countless efforts to combat violence inside the schools with little success. But today there is change. For his work in "creating cultures of peace inside the schools," Ilchi Lee, president of IBREA Foundation, will receive the José Simeón Cañas National Award by President Salvador Sánchez Cerén of El Salvador on September 12 at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in San Salvador. IBREA Foundation is a NYC-based nongovernmental organization having consultative status with the United Nations, whose mission is to empower individuals to understand themselves better, enhance their motivation, and be more mindful of their life choices and behaviors.
Since 2011, IBREA Foundation has provided its specialized holistic education program in El Salvador's schools, which combines physical movement, endurance training, breathing techniques, readings and journaling, group work, and more. Through a process of managing strong stressors in the brain and body, students find ways to cope with the challenging circumstances of daily life. Says one student, Laura, whose mother was killed at the hands of a street gang: "IBREA's program gave me tools to relieve my stress, my anger, my resentment. I see many kids around me falling into gang networks. I learned that if I don't give up in my choice for peace, people around me don't give up, and so will the people around them. That's how we can eradicate violence."
The award to Mr. Lee was made possible by the outpouring of gratitude from the many teachers who witnessed the improved security of their schools and the lives of their students change for the better. IBREA's program now reaches 25 percent of all public schools in El Salvador.
SOURCE PR Newswire and IBREA Foundation