“When I am at the center, I have the urge to sniff glue but if I give in to it, they won’t let me come in. When I visit the center, I can eat and shower before I go back out to the street; I couldn’t do that before. That is why I like to come. We do activities and they treat me really well.”
Angela*, age 15
Angela is 15 years old and living on the streets of San Salvador. Her story is like the story of many of El Salvador’s street kids. Her father died when she was less than a year old and she has no memories of him. She struggled with her mother to survive, sleeping in public bathrooms, doorways, and anywhere they could find shelter until they built themselves a small home of wood and sheet metal.
When Angela was 10 her mother sickened and died, leaving her to be raised by an aunt. That aunt began to abuse and mistreat her soon after her mother’s death, and Angela fled to the streets where she lived day to day selling candies and fruit. She began to sleep wherever she could, and she soon made friends with others who had taken to the streets.
Angela was 15 when our social worker met her. She had found her way to New Dawn, the MTES drop-in center for minors living on the streets. Five long years alone on the streets have left her scarred and broken. She has suffered beatings, rapes, assaults, hunger, and cold. Over the years she became addicted to glue because it dulled the pains in her empty stomach, and a marijuana addiction followed soon after. Because she sniffed glue instead of eating, and got high instead of sleeping she came to New Dawn with a host of health problems.
Now she is slowly on the road to recovery. She can get food, a shower, and a place to rest at New Dawn. She receives counseling and therapy, and she hears that she is valued, loved, and cherished by God, and by His followers who are waiting to greet her each day. We are thankful for our staff who continue to press into the lives of these kids, and to bind up their wounds in anyway they can.
We share Angela’s story because we want you to know that there is hope even around the darkest street corners. We have prayed and worked and moved toward the goal of offering a safe place for San Salvador’s street children, and we have seen how God has answered those prayers. Cases like Angela’s are a tragedy and too big for us to tackle alone. We see how much we need Him to intervene, and we work to do our part to faithfully carry out the task He has given us.
Today Angela and others have a drop-in center and the resources we offer available to them five days a week. We continue to work toward the future and we hope that by the end of this year we will have a 24 hour, 7 day a week shelter and treatment center for children like Angela.
Our dream is to prevent beatings and rapes, and hungry nights, and trafficked children, and teenagers addicted to drugs. It is a big task…but is anything too big for God? We thank you for your prayers and support as we serve these children, and together we look forward to being able to offer them greater hope and safety in the days ahead.
We are still in need of financial partners to help New Dawn grow! If you would like to make a donation, click here for more information.
A big hand to our staff and volunteers at New Dawn!
Top: New Dawn director with some of the kids on a recent outing
*Name has been changed.