“Those who have a voice must speak for those who are voiceless.”
– Oscar Romero
Friends of the Children of El Salvador (FOCES) is a faith-based ministry inspired by the life and works of Saint Oscar Romero of San Salvador. FOCES (Albuquerque) partners with FOCES (El Salvador) to advance the human rights of the children of El Salvador.
FOCES scholarship student Daniel de Jesus Martinez Zelaya died of kidney failure Christmas Eve, 2019. His wish was to graduate from high school and become a mechanic, but his life was cut short by a disease that is epidemic in El Salvador: 96% of all streams and ground water are polluted, much of the time due to use of Round-Up and other toxic chemicals on crops. Daniel was nineteen. Scholarship student Hugo had to end his university studies because of kidney disease which killed his mother when he was a young boy. The mother of José William has been bedridden for years, also with kidney disease.
Daniel’s brother, Miguel, will receive a scholarship so that he can continue the hope Daniel brought to his family and the community with education and the prospect of good-paying work.
In Daniel’s memory, FOCES is sponsoring a water filter project. Water filters will be installed at Casa Romero, the high school Daniel attended, and in the homes of thirty scholarship students. Moreover, every student will be examined for symptoms of kidney failure.
The students plan to present an educational workshop in Daniel’s community, El Escobal, about ways to prevent kidney disease. They will also go to the House of Deputies to voice their concerns about the causes of kidney disease and the lack of clean drinking water.
In March, We look forward to the arrival of three scholarship students, Iris Cañenguez, José William Mejia, and Yanira Gricel Coto, and the Director of FOCES El Salvador, Nuria Monico. Nuria will speak at the 8:00 am Spanish Mass in honor of St Oscar Romero on March 22nd at St. Therese Little Flower Parish. A reception will follow. FOCES supporters, Paul Robledo and his wife will host a reception fundraiser during the students’ visit. It will be a great opportunity to meet these outstanding scholarship students who are preparing to graduate from college. For more information about the upcoming visit or ways to support the clean water project, please contact Donna ([email protected]) or Jerry ([email protected]).