The Community of Nuevo Gualcho is located eight miles from the municipality of Nueva Granada, on the northern area of Usulután, El Salvador. It was born on 5 March 1990 with the arrival of the refugees that were in a Honduran camp during the Civil War in El Salvador, when people were forced to leave the country and lived there for 10 years.

The news that they would be able to return to their country arrived on the 28 February 1990. It was like a new dawn for the more than 500 families, the blessing that they were waiting for. The caravan left Honduras on 3 March. There were 200 trucks packed with dreams, happiness but also suffering since they knew they would have to start a new life in an unknown place, filled with mountains but no built homes. Little time had passed and they already had built “champitas” (houses made of tin sheets and nylon). At the beginning they didn’t like the place but nonetheless happy to be in their home country. Land was given to them by the ‘Bank of Land’, as previously arranged, so that they could build their homes.

The people were very united and they worked as a collective that is why they decided to form a Directive and the community was named Nuevo Gualcho (New Gualcho), due to its proximity to the Azacualpia de Gualcho Canton a famous place known for the battles that were held by Francisco Morazán (a national hero). Nowadays the community is well known for being efficient, well mobilised and for the organisations that have been created, including youth, women schools, sports groups. The community has also received international aid for the church, school, day care centre, centre for the disabled, the bakery, the market, the youth home for the Quetzalcoatl group, and more recently, the recycling and artisan centre built with the support of Progressio ICS, which has been a blessing for our community.

The new generation born in Nuevo Gualcho

Whilst the community grew, also new initiatives have arisen, such as the radio station that started in the community but that is currently in the Nueva Granada municipality.

Nuevo Gualcho is an example of how a community can sustain itself if it has trust in its people and if they strive to better their community. Nuevo Gualcho is the sum of the people’s effort, committed to its future and wanting to keep moving forward.

Written by national ICS volunteers Jaqueline Cornejo and Cindy Rivas