El Salvador is plagued with endemic gang violence, extreme poverty, and the exploitation of families trying to create a meaningful life. Rather than independent problems requiring targeted solutions, these crippling issues make up a complicated web of knots, connected to each other, that ensnare real people. Salvadorans have lost hope for their future. And when hope is extinguished, the only way forward is out. But here’s the good news – there’s a Sister at every one of those knots, heads down, working away.
SISTERS IN COLOR
For many, Catholic Sisters represent a counter narrative to the violence and fear Salvadoran communities experience daily. Instead, they’re one of the most beloved and trusted people in their lives. In nearly every corner of El Salvador, Sisters do the hard work of addressing the most pressing needs of their own neighborhoods, day in and day out. Now, recognizing true humanitarians when we see them, ARC is joining forces with the Sisters to do even more. We’re amplifying the change they’re already making, to lift their voices in unison. And we’re calling it the Color Movement.
THE COLOR MOVEMENT IS ALL ABOUT JOY
It helps Sisters tell their story. It gives them a voice. It puts words and identity to their combined impact, flipping the narrative on who Sisters are to the outside world. The Color Movement backs these stories up with more resources, like new youth centers, school supplies, hip hop classes – support big and small, and tailored to the communities the Sisters are so dedicated to. Sisters are joyful, vibrant, and colorful. They represent sanctuary and hope. So the Color Movement does, too, ushering all into the circle of their embrace.
“The Color Movement is what our kids need. We are so happy and excited to see what the future will bring.” – SISTER CONCEPTION, APOPA, EL SALVADOR
“We are making history here.” – JEFFERSON RAPHAEL, YOUTH LEADER IN APOPA, EL SALVADOR
GETTING TO KNOW YOU: WHO ARE THE SISTERS?
Sisters aren’t who you think they are. There are 700,000 Nuns around the world, living their lives side by side with the people they serve. They often work without any parish backing or financial support from the Catholic Church, dedicating their lives in entirety to advocating for the most marginalized among us. And they do it with so much love, respect, and humility. They’re powerful feminists. They’re quick to laugh – and even quicker to fight for someone in need. Sisters are fierce advocates. But they see success through those they advocate for – and not always through themselves. They often have a difficult time articulating exactly what they do, because they’re too in the weeds to see it. They don’t celebrate their own successes or measure their daily impact – there’s just too much else to do. As a result, funding that might profoundly amplify their work has remained elusive. Yet Sisters have built an unmatched social capital amongst people who they love and share their lives with. They’re often the humanitarians making the biggest difference. In a sea of fear and violence, they are trusted. They provide the needed sanctuary, the warm embrace, the pathways for change and opportunity. The Sisters offer an alternative identity to a life of violence, one that thrives on goodness, peace, and unity. THIS IS JUST THE BEGINNING We invite you to come along for the ride. Please reach out to Annie Nolte-Henning with questions at AnnieN@arcrelief.org or +1 (612) 874 – 5467.