Creating Social Value Blog / Service in Action

Changing Lives in El Salvador, One Lesson at a Time

Working with Habitat for Humanity in El Salvador has been such a rewarding experience.  We spend half of our day teaching women in the community, and the other half of our day is building in the hot sun.  Building is hard; I have never even used some of the muscles that are sore!  We have been hacking at a dirt wall, mixing cement, and moving bricks most of the time.  This is rewarding because we are able to see how our work is helping this beautiful family – they are so grateful when we come to help and this feeling is indescribable.

Although the building is extremely rewarding, I’ve liked the teaching even more.  We are working with a group of women that run a local cooperative organization to teach them about anything and everything they’d like to know.  At first, they were sure to tell us how great they have been doing; they are making many sales to international groups that come into the community.  We were so impressed and happy that they were succeeding.  They were doing so well, but they acknowledged that there were places that they could learn and grow.  The only hard part about this group was that they did not speak English, and we were not too good at Spanish.  Luckily our translator, Cathy, was very easy to work with and learned many business terms while she worked with us. (You rock, Cathy!)

We started our lessons with basic business tactics – many of these were familiar to the group because they have met with Babson students before.  Since they seemed to be comfortable with these concepts, we started with some harder material.  I was able to introduce some accounting material to the group.  It was very difficult to find where to start – since I am taking advanced accounting courses, I didn’t want to go too fast and confuse them early.  Luckily, as a group, we were able to take it slow and teach them some valuable tools.

I was personally impressed by how eager these people were to learn.  The class is about four hours long, so the fact that they take notes the whole time is astonishing to me.  When reflecting on this, I realized that they value our lessons so much.  Babson only comes to their community twice a year, so they are waiting for us to learn.  I am very grateful that I have gotten the time to work with these people and learn more about their stories.  These people have inspired me to work as hard as I can – they work so hard because they have to.  This experience will truly affect my life and I will never forget these wonderful people.


Samantha Donovan

Class of 2015