San Salvador to New Haven: Discovering Parallels in Community-Based Development

El Salvador
2013
Internship

I spent the first part of my summer adventures in San Salvador, El Salvador, working with International Partners in Mission, an organization that fosters partnerships with community-based organizations through promoting technical training, project replication, and sustainability. My team and I had three main projects: developing a library at a tutoring center in El Zaite, supporting a soy cooperative and establishing a public health empowerment curriculum for the youth in San Ramón, and also initiating a narrative project. I spent the rest of my summer in a different community, New Haven, CT. Back in New Haven, I was part of a Yale science outreach program called SCHOLAR. I was so lucky to spend my summer working with about 100 local New Haven and West Haven high school students. My favorite part of SCHOLAR was working on a supplemental community public health curriculum. Looking back, the overall juxtaposition of these two experiences was incredibly enriching, as I was able to observe community development in different contexts. The most evident similarities were challenges in education reform, food insecurity, and the effects of violence. I have taken away powerful insight into the core principles of community-based development including the importance of supportive infrastructure and youth empowerment that only observations and immersion in two unique settings could have provided.