El SalvadorEl Salvador

University scholarships

Investing in higher education so young people can pursue their dreams

Education & TrainingEducation & Training
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The Need

El Salvador, like many countries in Latin America, is a predominantly young country with more than 60 per cent of its inhabitants under the age of 30. However, many young adults in El Salvador do not have access to the resources or support needed to further their education and find meaningful work. Sadly, more than one in four young people living in El Salvador aged 15 to 24 are neither working nor studying. Without a career or education to focus on, young people are left vulnerable to the influences of crime, gangs and violence.

Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated the already existing challenges faced by many young people living in El Salvador. Despite the high population of children, youth and young adults living in the country, there has been systemic neglect of young people’s most basic needs—including education and job opportunities. In El Salvador, 51 per cent of people age 25 to 59 are unemployed.

Because many of these young men and women have been unable to pursue vocational training or higher education—most often due to poverty and the high cost of tuition—they are left without marketable skills and limited job opportunities. Education is a key factor for overcoming poverty and reducing violence and crime in communities. But without support, young people living in poverty may never get the opportunity to pursue a higher education, gain important skills and compete in the labour market, leaving them to repeat generational cycles of poverty.

Our Response

Your generous gift allowed 11 high-potential young men and women to pursue university education in a field of their choice. These students were selected from 10 frontline church partners in El Salvador based on their academic accomplishments in secondary school and their desire to continue their education. Before starting the intervention, some students met with a university psychologist to help them determine which field of study and university would be the best fit for them. Thanks to your gift, students received financial support that covered their tuition fees, textbooks, exam fees and school materials.

At the start of this intervention, 15 students were selected to participate. All 15 students received support from this intervention from 2021 to 2023. In June 2023, four students exited the intervention as they aged out of Compassion’s child development program before graduating. However, although these students were no longer supported by the intervention, the participating churches were able to pay for their remaining school fees, ensuring the four students could still graduate from university.

As the students continued their education, church and centre staff provided ongoing mentorship, monitoring of their progress and support, both virtually and in person. Students were required to report to centre staff after each school evaluation, and staff joyfully report that the students excelled in their classes. Church and centre staff also met with caregivers, encouraging parents to support their children emotionally and spiritually as they near graduation and begin searching for jobs.

Church staff and centre directors who provided ongoing mentorship noted that it was often challenging to support students as they faced the many challenges often experienced by young people—discouragement, temptation, peer pressure and frustration as they worked through challenging courses. However, staff were able to provide pastor counselling and meetings with parents and the students to provide emotional support and to encourage healthy communication between caregivers and their children.

Because of your generous gift, all 11 students have either graduated or are nearing graduation. Six students have already graduated, and the remaining five students are set to graduate during the second semester of 2024. Although four students were no longer able to participate in the intervention due to their age, they still received support outside of the intervention until their graduation.


Extracurricular activities: Students participated in celebrations, activities and extracurriculars during their time in university. For example, Gloria took part in a Doctor’s Day celebration at the health care centre where she worked, Zulma participated in a culinary art presentation in her town’s central park and Blanca participated in a competition with other students in her program using audiovisual resources.

Internships: During university, some students had the opportunity to participate in internships where they learned practical skills and gained experience in their field of choice. Zulma, who studied to become gastronomy technician, participated in an internship at a health care facility.

Schoolwork: Each student completed a variety of projects including class presentations, writing and defending a thesis, theoretical and practical exams and essays. They received support from their caregivers, church staff and centre directors as they worked hard to complete their education.

Graduation: Six of the young men and women have already graduated from their programs. Some of the students who graduated include Gloria V. (gastronomy technician), Carlos (technician in English), Gloria A. (nursing) and Linda (civil engineering).

Your Gift Provides...

Your generosity provided higher education fees for 11 students in El Salvador to pursue university education in the field of their choice, including:

• Vocational orientation
• Admission fees
• Enrolment
• Course fees
• Exam fees
• Student insurance
• Textbooks, tools and equipment
• Technology and Internet
• Graduation expenses

ReportA message from a pastor

Because of this intervention, the youngsters have changed in a positive way. They used to be youngsters who did not have the opportunity to become developed professionally. Now, thanks to this intervention, it has been possible. Academically speaking, many youths only complete high school studies, and from there, they start life at work often in jobs like their parents (as day labourers or as housemaids). But thanks to this intervention, they were able to get prepared professionally and now we can say that they have a university degree that will help them to find other employment opportunities.

The students participating in the intervention have been characterized by being servants of the churches where they congregate. In fact, many are youth leaders and they have been applying the knowledge they have acquired in better ways as they support community activities in campaigns or different activities. They are responsible and committed. As a church, we feel satisfied because this opportunity was given to them. One of the main achievements is to see the lives of young people transformed and become models to others. The community can count on professionals who will continue sharing knowledge with those in need.

I always say it is an excellent opportunity that the Lord allows me to serve here at church and at the Compassion centre. I see youngsters have a better future and I see young people with a different vision—to be able to accompany them in this process fills me with great satisfaction and joy. To see that they can improve professionally is one of the best things because they are also able to support their families, communities and the church and serve the Lord.

Thanks a lot! Thank you for the effort you have given to benefit our youngsters. Such effort is not in vain; there are results and we have seen through this intervention—some great results! Our young men and women have prepared themselves professionally and they will serve society in a positive way, and we encourage you to continue to support other young people who need it, because in these times, it is very difficult for them to continue studying by their own means.

Pastor Candida, pastor at ES0938

ReportA message from those your gift helped

Before this intervention, I wondered about how I could continue my studies. Having good grades, I thought I could achieve academic excellence.

Now, my life has changed a lot because I have more skills and knowledge. Nowadays, it is very difficult to obtain higher education, and even more than that, it is pretty difficult to complete a technical career. But I have been able to do it. This will give me more opportunities to be able to find employment and I give thanks to God for it.

This change means better work opportunities, greater expertise, the opportunity to support my family and friends with my skills and the ability to support the church where I congregate with my family. Now, I can support the needs of my family with a better income.

Thanks to this intervention, I have seen in myself the capacity to overcome difficulties. As I look behind, it really amazes me the way I have gone ahead. I have also learned to trust more in God because difficulties can cloud our minds and hopes, but as we put our faith in God, He shows us that He is in control of everything.

This has been very positive because many of us did not count on the resources to be able to go ahead with our academic studies, but God was the one who put you in our way so that we could fulfill our goals. I thank you so much for this. I will always be eternally thankful.

Gloria A., a Compassion-assisted beneficiary at ES0826
Reporting person's photo

ReportThank you for your generosity

Youth growing up in El Salvador, particularly in communities experiencing high levels of poverty, often enter adulthood unprepared and with little hope for their future. Many young men and women have limited opportunities due to poverty, lack of support and limited resources. But thanks to your generosity, 11 students from 10 Compassion centres in El Salvador have been able to pursue higher education, study in a field of their choice and learn the crucial skills needed to compete in the labour market and start successful careers.

Your generous gift has helped students like Linda, who studied civil engineering in university and wanted to share her story: “Personally, I feel privileged, knowing that I have the support of the church through Compassion International as a beneficiary of a scholarship. I don’t think I had ever met people outside of my family who were so supportive of me and my family. Although the last two years have been challenging, they have been a firm rock on which I have been able to lean on—that is by the grace of God. I am awaiting my graduation and with the help of God, I have already moved forward, and I will continue to do so until I achieve my dreams, goals and purpose that I long for in life.”

Carlos, who studied English in university, also wanted to share his gratitude with you: “God bless you all. For me, it is a privilege to be able to share a little of my testimony. Thanks to the help of Compassion International, this year I have finished my university studies. This scholarship was a great opportunity, as I further developed my knowledge. The road has been a bit difficult but with God’s help, everything is possible. He has given me the strength to study hard and achieve everything. My graduation is at the end of this year, and I know that everything is thanks to God, my parents and the help that Compassion International has given me. I am very grateful to each one of you.”

Your support has helped students like Carlos and Linda receive the financial support, mentorship and guidance they needed to excel as they experienced the joys and challenges of post-secondary education. Your gift has allowed these students to pursue a field of their choice and complete their studies. Now, they are equipped to find good jobs, contribute to their local economies, help others and inspire young people in their communities.