Morazán, El Salvador
El Salvador (population 6,378,000)
360 square miles
1,000 to 2,700 feet
Central Standard Time (CST) (UTC-6)
Agriculture and crafts
Development for El Salvador, the committee has sent medical equipment and educational supplies to Morazán worth more than $20,000.
Habitat for Humanity Metro Maryland completed a four year project that built 26 houses and repaired 23 others in Morazán’s El Barrial community. Ninety international volunteers participated in 15 trips with Habitat investing $360,000 in the community. MoverMoms, a nonprofit that promotes service by busy families, organizes trips for county residents each summer. Hungry for Music raised money for instruments for children.
In November of 2015, County Council President George Leventhal and Salvadoran native and Maryland Delegate Ana Sol Gutierrez led a mission trip to Morazán. The highlight was a presentation by Council President Leventhal of donated medical equipment to the Hospital de Gotera along with a check for $11,000 from donations by Montgomery County businesses and residents to be used to modernize the hospital’s neonatal care center. The County’s Department of Technology Services donated 150 computers it had retired from county service to local schools.
In addition to an annual Fiesta fundraiser, the Morazán committee showcases the Salvadoran culture and cuisine at events including COTSA’s annual Salvadoran Festival and Montgomery County’s World of Montgomery Festival.
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When Montgomery Sister Cities held a public forum in the summer of 2009 to solicit ideas for prospective Sister Cities, by far the most popular choice was El Salvador, the number one country of origin of Montgomery’s immigrant population. The Department of Morazán (the equivalent of a US state) was selected as it lies in the heart of the region where the civil war was fought in the 1980s. Many people fleeing the violence came to the Washington area. Montgomery Sister Cities board member Evelyn Gonzalez led an exploratory delegation to Morazán in August of 2010. On July 26, 2011, County Executive Leggett traveled to the town of San Francisco Gotera and signed the county’s first Sister City agreement.
Leaders of COTSA, an umbrella group of Salvadoran hometown associations, partnered with Gonzalez. Neftali Benetiz took us to Joateca to participate in the inauguration of the town square, and Montgomery Sister Cities Board member Neftali Granados and his brother Jorge Granados hosted the delegation in Guatajiagua. The most moving experience of the trip was a visit to the site of the massacre that took place in El Mozote on December 11, 1981 during the civil war.
One of the top priorities of the Morazán committee has been to provide educational opportunities for students beyond high school. Three Montgomery College professors from the Global Humanities Institute travelled to Morazán in 2013 to offer technical assistance in forming a community college. The committee purchased ten computers for the start-up technical school. In partnership with the Association for Educational
Morazán Governor Miguel Ventura, County Executive Ike Leggett, former United States Representative Connie Morella, and County Councilmember George Leventhal light candles at the El Mozote memorial on July 26, 2011
Habitat for Humanity volunteers
County Council President Leventhal joined Dr. Orellana and nurses at Hospital de Gotera on November 8, 2015.