Against a backdrop of rural, post-war violence and a migration crisis, the Tamarindo Foundation, Inc. (TFI) creates opportunities for non-violence, empowerment, and physical well-being in the community of Guarjila, El Salvador. We offer programs focused on enhancing the wellness, education, and capacity of young people and women. The Tamarindo has enabled the transformation of hundreds of group members’ lives, generated positive impacts throughout the community, and introduced numerous visitors to the challenges and dignity of daily life in Central America.
The Tamarindo Foundation, Inc is a 501 (c)(3), tax exempt, public charity. The Foundation is incorporated as a non-proﬁt in the state of Indiana (USA). The Tamarindo Foundation Wellness Park is located in the town of Guarjila, Chalatenago in the north west region of El Salvador. The foundation and itʼs programs serve 32 communities of that province.
Our Context: Building Opportunities in the Face of Violence, Emigration, and Poverty
The Tamarindo Foundation was founded as an Indiana-based non-profit in 2005, but our roots reach back more than thirty years into the history of the Salvadoran civil war. Guarjila was founded through a refugee re-population program mandated by the United Nations in 1987. When the war ended in 1992, Guarjila had little physical infrastructure, no running water, and failing public institutions.
In this setting, John Guiliano, MSW and a former Jesuit, began working with the children of ex-combatants through a bicycle-sharing program and community-improvement projects. Over the ensuing years, John founded the Tamarindo and expanded the group’s activities. In addition, John and the group’s staff – all Guarjila natives and long-time group members – began hosting school delegations from the United States and Canada.
The civil war in El Salvador has long ended, but the region still confronts urgent challenges. Guarjila residents struggle to overcome post-war poverty and economic stagnation. Gang violence erupts from the urban centers of Latin America, threatening to consume the region with drugs, violence, and unlawful activity. Unauthorized emigration provides a perilous way out for many; however, as headlines about the immigration crisis in the U.S. illustrate, is an untenable solution.
Our Values and Goals
The Tamarindo Foundation stands for building opportunity and autonomy through compassion, education, and nonviolence. We advocate proactive, longterm investment in communities like Guarjila in order to solve the crisis of migration and the scourge of gang violence in the Americas. We cultivate economic, spiritual, and physical alternatives from the groundup, creating leaders, deepening community, and transforming lives. Like the tough, fireresistant trees that give the group its name, we thrive under the harshest conditions, laying the foundations of a new social order.
Our Programs: Education, Wellness, and Nonviolent Empowerment
The Tamarindo Foundation programs create opportunities primarily for young people and women in the community of Guarjila and the region of Chalatenango. Our programs are founded on principles of responsibility, work, study, and commitment.
Our three program areas are:
Education & Career Development
Wellness & Health
Our Impact: Transforming a Community One Person at a Time
Tamarindo success stories abound, and our impact in Guarjila and beyond has been immense. Most of Guarjila’s school-age youth currently participate in our programs. Eight of the past ten Presidents of the Guarjila Town Council are current or former Tamarindo group members. Dozens of Tamarindos have pursued higher education and professional opportunities. Participants in our women’s wellness group have transformed their lives and improved their well-being. The Tamarindo has also helped reform gang members and support the recovery of drug addicts.
The Tamarindo Foundation has achieved incredible things thanks to the support and generosity of our
community. At the same time, we can and must do so much more if we are to overcome the challenges of global poverty, unauthorized migration, and the threat of gang violence. The Tamarindo provides pathways towards wellness, empowerment, and non-violent opportunity. In the coming year, we aim to expand our programs, hire new staff, and enhance our Foundation’s activities. The success of our efforts depends on the investment and commitment of people like you. We invite you to join us and help make a difference in El Salvador.