Desde El Salvador hacia Chicago

Siempre se glorificará al cazador hasta que el león escriba su propia historia.

– Proverbio Africano

Creemos que:

En Chicago, como cualquier lugar con epidemia de violencia, las zonas geográficas no determinan el comportamiento violento, ni tampoco el color de piel, el género o clase social. Más bien, la victimización engendra victimización.

La mayor parte de la violencia no es arbitraria, sino un reflejo del trauma; dolor engendra dolor—los que sufren harán sufrir a otros. Nuestra teoría de cambio se basa en la sanación, no en el castigo.

Creemos en consecuencias, pero también en la compasión. El empleo es un elemento esencial para confrontar la violencia, pero las víctimas también tienen que desarrollar comportamientos pro-sociales para enfrentar y navegar los traumas constantes de su pasado y presente, a la vez que desarrollan habilidades de vida para tener éxito en el ámbito profesional.

Sobre nosotros

Ambas consideradas como “capitales de homicidio”,
El Salvador y Chicago tienen conflictos de violencia relacionados a las pandillas,
afectando directamente a los jóvenes.
Como resultado comunidades enteras que viven
en un continuo trauma que normaliza la violencia actual y generacional.


En 2017, ConTextos lanzó en Cook County Jail el primer programa que trabaja con reclusos en espera de juicio por delitos violentos; Al mismo tiempo, empezamos a trabajar con los jóvenes en la comunidad de Roseland, con el programa CRED de Chicago.

Where to go from here?

Entonces, ¿es ConTextos una organización enfocada a la literacidad o a la reducción de la violencia? ¿Nos dedicamos a la educación o a reformar la justicia penal? ¿Trabajamos nacional o internacionalmente?

La respuesta es…SI!

Investigaciones reflejan que los que perpetuan actos de violencia inician siendo víctimas y las víctimas siendo testigos. Trabajamos en ambientes con violencia epidémica donde reside una juventud subestimada y desatendida.

El diálogo que nace de los textos y los círculos de autores son métodos poderosos para cambios transformadores en personas, instituciones y sociedad en general.


Nuestro trabajo apunta a largo plazo. Sí, hay resultados inmediatos…pero los resultados más importantes son generacionales, no transaccionales. Continuaremos expandiendo nuestro trabajo en El Salvador y en otras áreas de Centro América mientras seguimos expandiendo en Chicago. Nuestra prioridad es trabajar con los jóvenes subestimados y desatendidos quienes son considerados “en riesgo” pero que poseen poderosas historias con el poder de transformar.

Board members

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Anthony Barash

Presidente de la Junta

Recently a Fellow at the Harvard Advanced Leadership Initiative, Cambridge, MA, is an attorney with extensive experience in private and corporate practice. After retirement from practice, Tony lived for 15 months in Uzbekistan, working on an international legal reform Project. He then served as Fellow-in-Residence and Scholar-in-Residence at the Richard W. Riley Institute at Furman University.

In 2005, Tony was appointed Director of the American Bar Association Center for Pro Bono, where he served until 2010. He is passionate about national and international initiatives to provide Access to justice for the poor.

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Javier Alfaro

Board Member

General Manager for Cinemark Central America and the Caribbean since 1999. Responsible for Cinemarks' operations in 7 countries: Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama and Curacao. The company currently operates 17 theaters with 122 screens throughout the region. He holds a B.S. degree in International Trade and Finance from LSU and a Master’s degree from Tulane’s A.B. Freeman School of Business. For the last 4 years he has served in the Board of Directors of AFP CRECER.

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Ricardo Cevallos

Board Member

Senior Litigation and Arbitration Partner in El Salvador, his practice focuses mainly in banking, financial, contract and comercial law as well as arbitration and litigation. He is a member of the Texas and El Salvador Bars. Named by Latin Lawyer magazine as one of the 40 best attorneys under the age of 40 in Central America (2005), he also received the american Jurisprudence Award after receiving the highest grade in ADR in law school (1993). His international experience developed during his work at various firms in the United States and at the UN participating in UNCITRAL arbitrations.

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Darlene Mc. Campbell

Board Member

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Omar Egan

Board Member

Omar is the CEO of Industrias Caricia, the second largest shoe company in Central America, also he is the Founder and Director of a Startup in sensorial marketing technologies for retailers. He holds a B.A. in Economics from ESEN, the top business school in the country. He produced the first podcast in El Salvador in 2005 and currently produces 3 weekly podcasts from his home studio.

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Graciela Fontg

Board Member

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Jill Gross

Board Member

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Anne Hand

Board Member

Anne comes to the ConTextos board with multidisciplinary experience and expertise in philanthropy, nonprofits, and education. She has worked on a variety of multi-stakeholder initiatives with public and private partners specifically related to education, violence prevention, public health, and transnational leadership in the Americas.

She passionately believes that the circumstances of one’s birth should not limit what people are able to accomplish in their lives, and that literacy and storytelling are essential tools to allow all people to dream. Anne is currently Senior Program Manager for Leadership and Equity Initiatives at Hispanics in Philanthropy. She holds a B.Sc. in Psychology from McGill University, and an Ed.M. in International Education Policy from Harvard University. A New York native, she is based in Mexico City.

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Oscar M. Orozco Sr.

Board Member

He was born in San Salvador, El Salvador and at age 11 he moved to the United States of America, where he completed all his studies. He is a graduate of the University of Washington with a Master's degree in Banking Administration.

Oscar, started working in banking in 1971 and during those years he has held many jobs within the Bank. Start as a driver, cashier, collections, credits, Branch Manager, Area Manager, Executive Vice-President in US Banks and 45 years later he serves as the Secretary Secretary of the Board of Directors of Banco Promerica, as well as being the Regional Advisor of the Organizational Culture and also develops special projects for the Promerica Group.

He was a member of the ARMY of the United States for 3 years and during 1 year he fought in the Vietnam War.

I worked for 17 years in one of the most recognized banks in the United States, Wells Fargo Bank, where he managed the largest branch of the company and managed to be Vice-President of the same. His banking experience has been in Retail Banking in branches, where his main focus and passion has been Customer Service.

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Gabriela Poma

Board Member

Gabriela Poma is a doctoral student in the Spanish section of Harvard University's Department of Romance Languages and Literatures. Her research focuses on the literatures and visual arts of Central America, the Caribbean and their US-based diasporas and explores contemporary creative responses to migration, transnationalism and the feminine. As an activist, she has collaborated in developing self-susataining initiatives to support the arts, education and women’s issues in her home countries of El Salvador and Nicaragua. Currently, she is an advisory board memember of Centroamérica cuenta/Managua; Y.ES Contemporary/El Salvador; the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies at Harvard University; Andover Breadloaf; and the Institute for Recruitment of Teachers/Phillips Academy. Gabriela divides her time between the US and El Salvador.

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Gloria Raskosky

Board Member

A native of Nicaragua, Gloria has lived in El Salvador since 1994. Prior to devoting her time to humanitarian efforts, she worked in the banking industry and as Director of Planning and Special Projects for the Nicaraguan Minister of Culture, Gladys Ramirez Espinosa, during the presidency of Violeta Chamorro from 1992-1994. Gloria is affiliated with FUSAL-El Salvador, a health and human development institution, was a board member of Tin Marin, El Salvador's Children's Museum from 2009-2012 and for ten years, has taught the FORJA character building program methodology at the American School of El Salvador.

Gloria has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Anthropology from Connecticut College and graduated high school from the Carrolton School of the Sacred Heart in Miami. She is a passionate supporter of initiatives that address social issues and believes that education plays a vital role in closing the gap between poverty and self-actualization.

Discover our big family

Staff members

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Debra Gittler

Fundadora y Directora Ejecutiva

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Lisa Kenner

Chief Educational Officer