Paint! Straws! Let’s have fun!

On Saturday April 14, 10 children from our CAFRED supported schools received their first scholarship to attend art classes at MARTE Museum from April through July of the present year. This effort will help us to continue to develop education alternatives in the rural areas that CAFRED serves. We … Continue reading

Is the First Impression the One That Really Counts?

On Wednesday 14th, 50 students from the Centro Escolar Terry Allan Fedorchuk,  a CAFRED sponsored school in San Vicente, El Salvador, had their first field trip of the year. They visited the Art Museum MARTE in San Salvador. The children arrived at 10:00 … Continue reading

Why should teachers really know their students?

On Saturday, November 26, teachers from CAFRED schools had their monthly training session. with Alberto Barillas and Ada Montano (Sra. Montano is Chief of Inclusive Education for the Salvadoran Ministry of Education).

This training session was completely different from all the ones that this year that have been given to them. It is January – almost the beginning of the School year in El Salvador and teachers have a lot of things to keep in mind to improve the way that they work.

The goal is make CAFRED schools inclusive, and to complete this goal, it is necessary to really know the students that we have.

Alberto told the teachers that to get to know their students well,  they must carefully analyze the specific needs of each child.

Sra. Montano stressed the importance of the students becoming involved in their communities. Communities will develop as the students begin to understand the dynamics of their environment and how to impact it for the better.

Also, it is very important to keep in mind that the children who are “sobre edad” (performing below the traditional grade level for their age) feel vulnerable, and can easily become targets for bullying. Therefore, it is necessary to closely identify their needs and keep them in the school system. The methodology that the teacher is using may need to be modified a bit, so that everyone reaches the goal of finishing their studies.

 by Saúl Maravilla

Regional Director, CAFRED

A New Experience

On Tuesday, November 2, Students, teachers and members of the Canton Ramirez local school board had a field trip to the Art Museum MARTE at San Salvador. Canton Ramirez is a CAFRED supported school in the Department of Cuscatlan, El Salvador. They had cookies … Continue reading

What We Do


Project Eligibility Criteria

CAFRED identifies schools in Central America that are inadequate in size
and infrastructure, that hold classes in temporary shelters such as farm sheds
or private homes, and usually have dirt floors and lack sanitation.

Most are in remote inaccessible areas that can only be reached by taking unpaved
and treacherous roads that lack any signage whatsoever. Some of these schools
are already officially recognized by the Ministry of Education and some are

Once CAFRED identifies a school, it leverages donor resources to secure
important commitments from local and national governmental entities, as well as
other regional stakeholders, facilitating cooperative agreements.

CAFRED is an Open-System NGO with a Partner-Centric Approach to Sustainable Education

CAFRED identifies target communities that agree to collaborate as follows:

Community must be willing to work together with CAFRED, the municipality and the
ministry of education to build a school.

Community must be willing to organize a committee to supervise educational activities
and the management of the school.

Community must agree to divide into work groups to contribute the unskilled
labor required for the construction.

Community must sign a written cooperative agreement to allow CAFRED to carry out and supervise extra-curricular programs and teacher training for a two-year period.

 Once an agreement with the local community is achieved, CAFRED empowers and assists communities in negotiations to formalize contracts with local municipalities and the national government that will set up the following:

From the municipality:

The allocation of municipal funds to level and prepare land for construction, build retention walls and fencing around the school. Proper fencing surrounding a school property is needed to secure the construction site and later to protect the school from intruders.

The allocation of water for construction and potable drinking water for the construction crew and community workers.

The provision of municipal oversight during construction.

From the national ministry of education:

CAFRED works with local the community to secure the following commitments from the national government of the host country to make sure that the new school will be fully supported:

Recognition of Schools: In the case of “unofficial” or “unrecognized” schools, the
Ministry of Education must recognize the school as an official MinEd school, which
qualifies it to be eligible for all governmental support and access to programs
and services, including nutritional programs and school maintenance.

Allocation of Teachers: CAFRED provides student population results to the Ministry of
Education that justifies the number of teachers needed. The process may include
obtaining birth certificates for children that have not been registered at
birth. The Ministry then signs an agreement to provide the necessary teachers
and one director. In the event that the ministry of education cannot commit to
the required number of teachers due to temporary budgetary restraints, the
Municipality itself must guarantee to fund teachers’ salaries in the interim
period at the national pay scale.

Provision of School Desks: The Ministry of Education must also provide furniture for teachers and brand new age-appropriate desks for each student before Day One of classes.

CAFRED obtains deeds indicating ownership of land by ministries of education

Title to the school and grounds: must be held by the Ministry of Education to ensure
that the school cannot be sold or used for a different purpose.

When deeds cannot be produced, CAFRED works with local authorities to prove
proper land ownership.

When a target school is located on property that cannot be donated or sold to the
ministry, a new school site must be procured by local authorities, and title
transferred to the national government.

Property must be sufficiently ample for future expansion, based on population trends.

CAFRED raises funds internationally to finance school construction and the cost of extra-curricular programming

To support the search for funding, CAFRED conducts an analysis of the surrounding area, including: current and potential student population data, indicators of community literacy, distance to surrounding schools and public transportation, crime statistics and an inventory of the strengths and needs of the community.

CAFRED procures the architectural drawings

CAFRED conducts a bidding process to hire local professional contractors

Contractor Eligibility Criteria:

Contractor must be licensed by state or provincial authorities and provide adequate references.

Contractor must be able to supervise the work of the men and women of the community and both contractor and crew must be able to work side by side with community members in a cooperative spirit of understanding and respect for age and gender, as well as community values.

Contractor must be willing to hire and/or train local available community labor.

Contractor must agree to build temporary shelter in remote rural areas to house materials and a crew that will live on site for the duration of the project in an environment free of drugs, alcohol and weapons.

Contractor must provide own outdoor kitchen facility, fuel tank and catering

Contractor must hire cook from local community to provide three meals daily for construction crew.

Contractor must be trained in construction safety best practices by a nationally accredited school.

CAFRED strengthens local capacities and motivates school
staff while articulating ongoing community support to ensure

helps the community to source all available governmental, business and
nonprofit assets in the region.

trains, monitors and motivates teachers to become better instructors.

improves the school experience for the child through exciting after-school
programs and field trips to cultural destinations.

encourages and guides parents to understand, support and contribute to their
children’s education.

sources all community assets.

CAFRED coördinates with other NGO’s and executing agencies to avoid duplication of efforts and to benefit from lessons learned.

 CAFRED is headquartered in Washington, D.C. and
is tax exempt under U.S. Internal Revenue Code 501(c)(3).

CAFRED maintains strict political and religious independence.

NGO ISO Long Term Relationship

CAFRED is on the road in El Salvador, searching for its next project. We have received leads from friends and colleagues, and from the Ministry of Education, to find just the right conditions and the right community. Some might ask, why is CAFRED so picky?

Over time, we have learned that the right community is always waiting for us somewhere – and it is our job to find it.

The Will to Fight

This mythical community is willing to toil and sweat, and be patient. It knows how to advocate for itself and it is actively searching for us just as we are in search of it. When we meet, it will be love at first sight.

What are we looking for in such a community?

Usually, the director and the teachers take money out of their own pockets to help decorate the school and make it a colorful environment – no matter how meager the conditions of the infrastructure itself.

The director of this sought after school          is a born leader – passionate and creative, he or she works every day to overcome the odds. He or she she is a social worker, an child advocate, a community organizer, a fundraiser and an educator, and most of all, he or she is an optimist.

This community has done its homework. It has already fought to get ministry status as an official school, affording it a government stipend for school lunches, maintenance and teachers’ salaries. With limited resources, it has found land – rented, borrowed, bought or donated – to locate its present school. The community built it themselves from whatever materials they could find – be it bamboo, metal sheeting, mud
or plastic. This school is humble, but somehow

This school is usually on a dirt road,
far from any form of public transportation.
It has dirt floors, no electricity or running water.
When it rains, the sound on its tin roof is as loud
as a firing squad and in the afternoon the same
roof transfers enough heat to cause the classroom
to resemble a hot oven.

It usually lacks windows and/or electricity
and therefore, the lighting conditions are
minimal at best.

The school grounds flood during the rainy
season, leaving no space for recreation.

CAFRED works with this community, with
international donors and local and national
governments to build a brand new school.
CAFRED then stays on for two years, helping the community to build sustainability
for the school by sourcing undiscovered
wellsprings of local, national and world-wide
support. It implements extra-curricular
programs for children to offer alternatives
to involvement with gangs, and conducts
ongoing teacher training.