Skills workshops for income generation continue - Maryknoll Lay Missioners
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Fall 2021 newsletter


Ann Greig, El Salvador

Our jewelry-making workshop

Greetings from the Soy Program!

It is my wish that each one of you and your family are safe and in good health.

Here in El Salvador, we continue to deal with COVID-19; several variants of the virus are circulating, and the number of cases is increasing. We receive reminders daily to use masks.

In these difficult times, our Soy Program improves Salvadoran lives by serving a greater number of beneficiaries and providing training for women to create new products to generate income. It may be the very thing that gets them through the day—and this pandemic.

We continue to offer monthly workshops teaching the participants skills and abilities to earn a living for their families and advance toward economic independence. In this series of workshops, women have learned to make chocolate, design and make piñatas, and make jewelry. The women also learn how to commercialize these products, earning not only a living but a small amount of capital to reinvest in their production. This work has been vital in the context of the current pandemic, during which many lost their jobs and livelihoods.

“Tita” with her piñatas

One of the participants, Señora Marta Alicia, has had several requests for piñatas and brought them to the soya to show us.

All of this has been possible thanks to your generous donations and solidarity.

As Jesus expressed in the gospel, it is not enough to look for the bread that soon runs out. It is also necessary to promote people’s dignity, helping them improve their situation and empower themselves, learning a trade that allows them to earn a decent living.

This solidarity that you all show toward the people of El Salvador, is the best sign of the presence of God and the closeness of his kingdom. Jesus tells us, “By their fruits you will know them” (Mt 7:16).

I would like to extend to you the gratitude expressed by the beneficiaries of the Soy Project. These are people you may never know, but they cherish this wonderful gesture of solidarity that now allows them to have a better quality of life.

“No one who lights a lamp conceals it with a vessel or sets it under a bed; rather, he places it on a lampstand so that those who enter may see the light” (Lk 8:16-18). Shining this light helps us see things clearly and helps us walk with others. Good things are to be shared, especially with those who need more of this light. Could we be good Christians if we did not care that the message of the Good News reaches those who are in precarious situations — both material and spiritual. How would we know the infinite mercy of God and his project?

I remain eternally grateful for your generosity in supporting the soy ministry and my sustenance. Together we have created a space of nourishment and hope. A safe place where the women can learn together and socialize.

On a personal note, you may remember that I was in Florida visiting family in June when I wrote my last newsletter. My return flight to El Salvador turned into a bit of an odyssey.

I was supposed to have left on an early flight and arrive mid-day in El Salvador. United Airlines (or rather, the CCD) did not accept my vaccine certification (because in El Salvador we received the Chinese vaccine SINOVAC). Therefore I needed a PCR COVID test and had to reschedule my flight for later in the day. With the help of God’s loving hand and my sister Jane, I received the PCR results in 30 minutes and returned to the airport. The flight should have arrived in San Salvador at 10 p.m. However, when we approached the airport for landing, it was raining so hard that we had to fly on to San Pedro Sula, Honduras, to refuel and wait for the storm to calm down. However, looking at the bright side, we all arrived alive and, yes, exhausted! We made it to San Salvador at 2 a.m., and I finally got to my apartment at 4 a.m.



Ann Greig
Ann Greig is the co-founder and director of the Health through Nutrition Soy Project in San Ramón, El Salvador. The project provides families with better health and nutrition as well as with education on health and social issues through workshops.