Carolyn Ramsdell

Carolyn Ramsdell (Survivor Corps in El Salvador): Carolyn received her Bachelor’s degree in journalism and Political Science from Northern Arizona University. She then spent three years in Bolivia with the Peace Corps, where she worked in rural indigenous villages. After her return from Bolivia, Carolyn spent a year working as the Volunteer Resources Manager for St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance, the world’s first food bank. At the time of her fellowship, Carolyn was completing her Master’s degree in sustainable development at SIT Graduate Institute with a concentration on policy analysis and advocacy. Her research was focused on development trends in Latin America and human rights.



Survivor Profiles – part I

12 Aug

Red de Sobrevivientes is giving people the tools they need to improve their lives. Just three weeks ago, Cruz Almendarias received economic assistance in the form of a new table saw. A talented carpenter by profession, Cruz has been crafting furniture for years. He has been working for other businesses in town, but now with his own tools he can begin to work from home and has dreams of opening his own workshop in the near future.

Cruz Gaberti Almendarias working with his new table saw Arcatao, Chalatenango Department, El Salvador, Photo by: Carolyn Ramsdell, July 2009

Cruz Gaberti Almendarias working with his new table saw Arcatao, Chalatenango Department, El Salvador, Photo by: Carolyn Ramsdell, July 2009

“This new machine is more than a new tool,” Cruz said, “its independence.”

After participating in a series of courses about accounting and small-business management from the Red de Sobrevivientes, Cruz said he feels ready to take the steps necessary to open his own workshop.  The Red de Sobrevivientes began working in Chalatenango just last year and has helped form an association of persons with disabilities so they may begin to advocate for inclusion of disability rights at the municipal level. Red de Sobrevivientes outreach worker, Dimas Gonzalez, has been working with Cruz and other survivors in the area also providing peer support, medical referrals, and job training courses.

As a guerrilla fighter during the civil war, Cruz lost his right leg just below the hip to a grenade explosion. He says his disability does not make him any different or that he has less than anyone else, it just makes him appreciate more what he does have. Today Cruz is happily married with two young children and helps care for his nephew.

Posted By Carolyn Ramsdell

Posted Aug 12th, 2009

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