Orphan Helpers works in two orphanages and four detention centers in El Salvador. These centers have a combined population of nearly 800 abandoned children and vulnerable youth.
Centers Where We Work
CIPI is an acronym for “Centro Infantil de Protección Inmediata” (Center for the Immediate Protection of the Youth). CIPI is the first point of placement by judges, police, and social workers for children entering into ISNA, “Instituto Salvadoreño para el Desarrollo Integral de la Niñez y la Adolescencia” (Salvadoran Institute for the Integral Development of Children and Adolescents). These children have been orphaned, abandoned, abused, or admitted for their protection. ISNA is under the direct authority of the First Lady of El Salvador and its headquarters is located on CIPI’s campus.
CIPI is designed to be a safe and temporary center for the children. The government works to quickly place these children with family members, foster families, or in a private orphanage. The population of CIPI is approximately 50-90 children consisting of infants, toddlers, young boys, teenage girls, and special needs children. A few young mothers, most of which are pregnant by rape of a family member, live at CIPI with their babies as well.
Orphan Helpers’ staff and volunteers offer the love and hope of Jesus Christ through Bible stories, crafts, sports, and helping care for the babies and toddlers. They also manage the Orphan Helpers Spanish library here.
CISF is an acronym for Centro de Inserción Social Femenino, which stands for Female Social Integration Center. This detention center, which is for girls between the ages of 13 and 18, is located on the other side of the boys orphanage CISNA. There are two populations in CISF: those awaiting sentencing and those who have been sentenced and are serving their detention time here. Those who are provisional have been accused of a crime and are waiting for trial and sentencing. The definitives are those who have already been sentenced by the court to serve their detention time here. They have committed various crimes such as robbery, extortion, assault, kidnapping, prostitution, drug abuse, and murder. Orphan Helpers has one staff member here currently that teaches basic education and discipleship classes, does crafts, and holds daily devotionals.
CISNA is an acronym for the center’s Spanish name, which is “Complejo de Integración Social para la Niñez y la Adolescencia” (Complex for the Social Integration of Children & Teenagers). CISNA is home for approximately 20-35 boys ages 11-18. These boys are admitted as a result of abuse, abandonment, or for their personal protection as ordered by the court. Many of these boys are found living on the streets; most ran away from home or were kicked out by their parents. Others are brought to CISNA because of family abuse or mistreatment.
Orphan Helpers has 1 staff member in this center who works as a teacher. The teacher offers counseling and guidance to the children and teaches crafts, Bible class, and discipleship classes every day to the children. We also operate a Spanish library in the center.
El Espino is near the border of Guatemala, about thirty minutes from Santa Ana, and one and a half hours from the capital, San Salvador. It was El Salvador’s worst detention center until the Orphan Helpers staff brought the Gospel. El Espino holds approximately 250 young men ranging from 13 to 18 years of age. They have committed crimes such as robbery, extortion, assault, kidnapping, and murder and they have been sentenced to serve time in this detention center. Most of these boys are members of street gangs.
Orphan Helpers has two staff members at El Espino who teach, guide and offer spiritual advice to these boys. Their message of hope and salvation has proven to be incredibly powerful! Orphan Helpers also sponsors a computer lab with 12 computers and a Spanish library.
“Sendero de Libertad” (Path of Freedom) holds around 75 boys, aged 13-18. There are two populations: the provisional and the definitive houses. Those who are provisional have been accused of a crime and are waiting for trial and sentencing. The definitives are those who have already been sentenced by the court to serve their detention time here. These boys have committed various crimes such as robbery, extortion, assault, kidnapping, prostitution, drug abuse, and murder. Orphan Helpers is working to reach these kids for Jesus Christ through our staff members who teach basic education and discipleship classes, hold daily devotionals and organize sports and games in the center. Due to Orphan Helpers’ sponsorship of a library and computer lab, college classes are currently available.
The Tonacatepeque Juvenile Detention Center is located in Tonacatepeque, El Salvador, about 35 kilometers northeast of San Salvador. This detention center houses boys between 13 and 18 years of age. Many of these young offenders are associated with street gangs. Currently, about 235 boys are incarcerated here.