History

In the last century, the Salvadoran people have endured the assassinations, disappearances, and massacres of countless civilians and leaders during a bloody civil war (1980-1992), significant economic injustice and exploitation, widespread environmental degradation and an astounding number of natural catastrophes. At the same time, the Salvadoran nation remains, on the whole, a people of hope, courage, strength, and resilience, and a country full of life, color, great beauty, and much history of which to be proud.

FUNDAHMER grew out of the popular, grassroots Christian Base Community movement in El Salvador (Comunidades Eclesiales de Base, El Salvador-CEBES), which began in El Salvador’s poorest communities in the 1970’s. The CEB’s movement in El Salvador fostered courage and strength amongst the poor to confront the rampant injustice, repression and violence especially prominent leading up to and during the Salvadoran Civil War. After the Peace Accords were signed in 1992, officially ending war, the movement continued, and Fundahmer is one official organization continuing this work. FUNDAHMER (Fundación Hermano Mercedes Ruíz) was officially registered a non-profit, non-governmental organization in the Salvadoran National Directory on August 25, 2000.

As an organization, we are guided by the principles of solidarity, gender equality and environmental responsibility. FUNDAHMER strives to end poverty and to promote the social, economic, and spiritual development of individuals and communities. Our work primarily takes the form of human development initiatives, education, encouragement of civil participation, and the fostering of relationships of accompaniment and solidarity on local, national and international levels, in order to build a more just and peaceful society.

Christian base communities are inspired and animated by communal experiences of faith and shared life together. They have become a driving force of change in the Church and society, and inform the theology of liberation. In El Salvador, these communities continue to dedicate themselves to the fight against poverty and injustice on the local, national, and international levels. We are committed to contributing to God’s Kingdom of peace and justice here on earth. This radical vision of human liberation has resulted in the persecution and martyrdom of many courageous and prophetic witnesses. The memory and example of these martyrs continue to inspire our work, especially the prophetic witness of our pastor and advocate, Monseñor (Archbishop) Oscar Arnulfo Romero, who was killed for speaking out on behalf of the poor and oppressed and the radical “violence of love” mandated by the Gospel. The organization takes its name from an early companion in the movement, Mercedes Ruíz, whose spirit of simplicity, humility and dedication to solidarity continues to serve as an inspiration for our work.

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