To celebrate International Youth Day, the main theme of which is “safe spaces for youth,” 450 young people, between 15 and 17 years old, had the opportunity to participate in a conversation with U.S. Ambassador, Jean Elizabeth Manes. All of the young participants are beneficiaries of the US Embassy sponsored program “English Access.”
The young people who participated today are students at the Catholic University of El Salvador (UNICAES) in Santa Ana and Ilobasco and the Salvadoran American Cultural Center in San Miguel and San Salvador.
The event was organized because of the interest Ambassador Manes has in the youth of El Salvador and their challenges, opportunities, and expectations. The students expressed their concern about the insecurity that currently affects the country and the poor attention given to it by the authorities. Others discussed the lack of opportunities they face these days. The poor education system and corruption are other issues that worried them. They also commented on how they expect the United States Government to be part of the construction of a better El Salvador.
The English Access Program is a 2-year educational program where young people from 13 to 17 years old, from vulnerable social sectors, participate in intensive English and computer classes, as well as participating in extra-curricular activities such as community service, leadership, and entrepreneurship. English Access uses innovative methods to make the learning process of students and the professional training of their teachers easier.
The English Access Program was created in 2004 and has benefited some 95,000 students in 85 different countries. In El Salvador, it started in 2009, and since then 1,600 young people have benefited from the $2 million investment.