Remarks of Ambassador Jean E. Manes “Yo Cambio” Bakery Inauguration

August 8, 2017

** Remarks as prepared.  This English translation is provided as a courtesy. The original text was prepared and delivered in Spanish; only the original Spanish text should be considered authoritative. **

A year ago I had the opportunity to visit this bakery.

At that time it was under construction. I am very pleased to be here and see this project complete.

Reinforcing security in El Salvador is a priority for the U.S. Government and must be addressed from different points.

This is why our focus is not only on violence prevention, but also the reintegration of people in jail.

Reintegration programs are fundamental to break the cycle of violence and, this bakery is part of that rehabilitation effort.

The 58 women who are part of the rehabilitation and reintegration program called “Yo cambio” (I change) will learn abilities that will assist them with the process reintegrating into Salvadoran society.

This project was supported by our Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) with equipment and material valued in $200,000.

Sometimes, we as Government officials are very focused on numbers but this bakery is much more than that. It is the effort of 58 women to return to their lives. It is the decision of 58 women to change their future.

Second chances are available to everyone, but it is a decision that each one of you has to take.

I say this to all the women part of “Yo cambio” (I change)”:

Since the first stone was placed in this bakery, you all started to build your future.

You will have difficult times ahead, but when you have those moments of doubt remember that this was built with your own hands, and with dedication and perseverance – there is no challenge that you cannot overcome.

The $200,000 is not a donation, but an investment, because we believe in Salvadorans and, El Salvador needs more investors.

Because every person willing to learn from their past mistakes and work hard to not repeat them deserves a second chance.

Let’s keep investing together in El Salvador to build a better future for everyone.

Thank you so much.