In the early 1980s, out of the violence and pain of the civil war, Father Ken opened his parish church to a few lonely, hungry and desperate chidren – war orphans. From that humble start, thanks to the immense charity from across the United States, COAR was born. Today, COAR quite literally is giving neglected, abused, abandoned and endangered children not only education, clothing, healthcare, lodging, and food, but also, it is giving them hope, restoring their faith in people and in society and it is giving them a space to grow as unique individuals so that hopefully they will give back to El Salvador when they become adults.
For many in the USA, there has always been a hope that Salvadorans, recognizing the great work being done at COAR, would one day begin to contribute themselves to COAR. Charity is not only a function of economics, but, it is also a function of culture and trust. Today, after more than 30 years of service to the children, and thanks to the dedication of our Salvadoran Administration, local Salvadoran businesses and organizations are making contributions and donations to COAR. After so many years of violence, Salvadoran society has learned to distrust institutions. People fear that cash donations may never end up reaching their intended targets.
But, at COAR, companies are beginning to trust and they are making a difference in the lives of our children. In just the past few years, several Salvadoran businesses and organizations have picked up the phone, called our Administrators and said “We would like to help you”.
SUCCESS! Hopefully, we are entering a new era when we have local support from local business partners who feel a need to contribute to their own society and who see COAR as a wonderful opportunity to nurture homegrown charity.
In December of 2014, Herbalife El Salvador, brought Christmas to ALL of the COAR children! Not only did Herbalife donate 1 large Christmas basket filled with presents to each and every child at COAR, they also brought a wonderful buffet lunch featuring Mickey and Minney Mouse. But, this act of charity runs even deeper — Herbalife not only donated hundreds and hundreds of dollars in gifts and food, but, they also brought their employees to COAR to help the children celebrate the holidays. This company wanted to do more than just donate money, they wanted to make the kids feel loved. Notice in the pictures below, how many employees took their personal time to come to COAR to celebrate the holidays and to show their love and concern for the kids!
Today, COAR is still completely financed through US, Canadian and a few International donors. But, we are so excited to see that Salvadoran businesses and organizations are beginning to understand the need and are nurturing Salvadoran-born charity. While only in its infancy, it is exciting to see such a positive change in Salvadoran society.