The Barefoot Angels child labor eradication program works closely with Salvadoran families to keep children in school. Megan Scarborough (right) provides after-school tuto ring to children who used to work as vendors in Santa Ana's local marketplace.
Photo by Molly Dougherty
Public Affairs Specialist Megan Scarborough traveled to Santa Ana in El Salvador during September as a volunteer to work with ASAPROSAR (Asociación Salvadoreña Pro Salúd Rural), a rural health program that coordinates a community support and empowerment network in that area of the world.
According to Scarborough, the program has made "an enormous impact on the lives of hundreds of thousands of people throughout the country" since its inception. In addition to providing health and nutritional services, the program also provides schooling for kindergarteners, coordinates microcredit initiatives for small community groups, and organizes projects dealing with sustainable agriculture, she said.
During her week-long visit, Scarborough helped out with ASAPROSAR's Barefoot Angel's initiative, which is directed at eliminating child labor; visited with families, some of whom she had met eight years ago during a previous visit; and delivered care packages. She also took photographs, which eventually will be used on an ASAPROSAR web site that is under construction.
In an e-mail sent to her coworkers and friends on September 13, Scarborough described one of her outings, "Today, we went to visit a community where ASAPROSAR has only been operating for one month," she wrote, adding that the community was located near a coffee plantation on a volcano. "The area has been devastated by two crises this year. It was torn apart by earthquakes and now people are suffering from unemployment. Due to the drop in world market coffee prices, growers have decided not to harvest this year. There is no work to be found. The people cannot use the land around their homes to plant sufficient food because as renters they do not have the right. The severe scenes of poverty weigh heavily on the heart."
Upon her return to the LBJ School, Scarborough began discussing ASAPROSAR-related internship and research opportunities for graduate students with LBJ School professors. She intends to promote the idea during a brown bag talk in the spring.
A 1998 UT Austin graduate in Latin American studies, Scarborough has worked in the Office of Communications since August 2000.
December 7, 2001
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