El Salvador, the smallest and most densely populated country in Central America, suffered from a brutal civil war between 1980 and 1992. Almost three decades after signing the peace treaty, the country is still wracked by gang violence, inequality, and a dire economy. Countless Salvadorans have been forced to flee their homes, leaving their families behind and devastating social bonds in Salvadoran society.
San Pedro Perulapán is a mostly rural municipality in El Salvador, which suffers greatly from post-civil war gang violence, waves of family-destroying migration, inequality, and rampant poverty.
Armonia Cuscatleca was founded to promote the healthy development of Salvadoran children and youth through music.
Armonia Cuscatleca was founded in 2015 by Pablo Méndez Granadino, a young Salvadoran musician who grew up in Los Angeles. After teaching music in the Harmony Project in Los Angeles, Pablo traveled to his hometown San Pedro Perulapán in El Salvador, to develop a music education program for children and youth.
Originally the only teacher and coordinator, Pablo has expanded the project to include a teaching team of five musicians, plus an administrator, and expanded the outreach of the program beyond San Pedro’s downtown, reaching the cantones of El Rodeo and San Agustín, and the neighbouring villages of El Carmen and Altavista.
The program has been running in partnership with Musicians Without Borders since 2017.
Building community bonds in San Pedro Perulapán
Armonia Cuscatleca offers an alternative to children’s gang-related reality and brings communities torn by violence and migration closer together. Students are encouraged to become positive leaders and role models for their communities. The program’s positive and supportive environment allows them to make friends, promoting teamwork and valuing coexistence.
Making music with youth
Armonia Cuscatleca offers free music lessons and safe spaces for musical practice and rehearsals. The program supports the integral development of Salvadoran children and youth through music, helping them discover their artistic and cultural identities, build self-esteem, and cultivate healthy habits, discipline, and creativity.