Majoqui had just turned 13 when the local Mara (gang) leaders recruited him. He really didn’t have much of a choice, either join the gang or he and his family would die. In the first week with the Maras Majoqui’s loyalty was brutally tested—he was given a gun and forced to take the life of another boy his age who had tried to escape the gang. Majoqui is now deeply entrenched in the gang culture with seemingly no way to escape the soul destroying violence and depravity.
El Salvador is one of the most violent countries in the world, with one of the highest murder rates. 44,000 young people are gang members and 800,000 children and youth are directly influenced by the Maras. Nine out of ten people who die each year are youth aged 15 to 17. El Salvador is experiencing unprecedented violence: barbaric murders, massacres of entire families and the resurgence of clandestine cemeteries, where killers bury their victims in shallow mass graves, consigning them to the long list of the “disappeared”.
It is in the context of this horrible situation that Youth for Christ is developing a new national ministry. Working with the Salvadoran Ministry of Education some courageous and innovative young leaders are developing a youth outreach and gang prevention program in four public high schools. They have also been given access to one of the largest youth institutions in El Salvador that houses many of the 9,000+ gang members held in prisons across the nation.
Drawing on the experience of other national Youth for Christ ministries that work with street gangs, the team have developed a prevention program that focuses on character reinforcement, family integration, sports and vocational workshops—all in the context of God’s Kingdom values and infused with a message of hope and love.
Your special End-Of-Year gift will help this Salvadoran team—and many other Youth for Christ pioneers around the world—to follow their dreams and reach into communities that desperately need what they have to offer, your support and encouragement is vital.
There are thousands of Godly, sacrificial, courageous young people ready to be mobilised. Your special End-Of-Year gift will provide resources to equip and deploy young agents of change in El Salvador and beyond.
|David Wraight, President
Youth for Christ International