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El Salvador

January 26, 2013 to February 3, 2013

Interested in sharing a journey serving others and building with a community? By joining this team you’ll see how building a house strengthens a community and improves living conditions for families in western El Salvador. Hard-working hands, enthusiasm and willingness to be part of a global work team are all you need.


Children stand in the doorway of their family’s substandard house.
Country profile


About El Salvador
El Salvador is located in Central America, bordering the North Pacific Ocean, between Guatemala and Honduras. It is the smallest and most densely populated of the Central American countries. Two volcanic chains run down its center, rising from fertile plateaus that otherwise characterize the countryside.

The country’s climate is tropical, with a rainy season (May to October) and dry season (November to April). It is tropical on the coast and temperate in uplands. Daytime temperatures vary little, reaching around 86 F in November and 93 F in March and April.

About Habitat for Humanity El Salvador
Since 1992, Habitat for Humanity El Salvador has provided more than 10,300 housing solutions, providing simple, decent and affordable shelter for more than 51,500 Salvadorians. HFH El Salvador works with the central office in San Salvador and seven regional offices in San Miguel, Santa Ana, Sonsonate, Usulutan, La Paz, San Vicente and San Salvador.

The earthquake-resistant houses are made of concrete blocks and structural steel reinforcement. The roofs are made of fiber-cement sheeting, and the floors of cement brick. They have two bedrooms, a living room, a dining room and a latrine or toilet. Windows are shutter type, protected by steel bars in order to provide adequate lighting, ventilation and security.

For families who are unable to afford the standard model, there is another housing option called the “progressive model.” Depending on the family’s future resources, these houses may be extended and improved in stages. This model is available in two sizes: a 40 square meter construction area (US$7,000) or a 30 square meter construction area.

For more information, visit

Types of construction for volunteers
Global Village volunteers may work in all stages of construction, from digging foundations to painting the houses. Regardless of what stage the house is in when the team arrives, responsibilities will likely include: carrying bricks, mixing cement, compacting dirt and moving materials.

On the work site, volunteers will find portable bathrooms and designated resting areas with drinkable water. The team will be supervised by technical advisors and construction experts and they will present written construction goals every day. Each volunteer will be provided with a pocket-sized contact card plus emergency and evacuation plans.

Standard itinerary
(9-day itinerary)

Day 1 (Arrival day, typically Saturday): Greeted at San Salvador airport by Habitat El Salvador staff; transport to accommodations.
Day 2 (Sunday): Free time to rest; orientation and welcome.
Days 3–7 (Work days, Monday–Friday) Breakfast served before traveling to work site; work from 8 a.m.–4 p.m. with lunch on-site; free time after work to clean up; supper of typical Salvadoran food; time for team activities.
Day 8 (Saturday): Travel to San Salvador; free time; final team dinner.
Day 9 (Final day, Sunday): Departure day.

Note: Trip includes special events throughout the week: cultural experiences with host program, such as traditional dance, agricultural and architectural tours, typical food preparation – as well as a farewell activity.

Habitat El Salvador will determine the best lodging option for Global Village teams. Work teams usually stay in hotels, retreat centers, or dorm-style accommodations that are basic, safe and clean. The team will stay two to four people per room. Typically rooms are equipped with a private bathroom, though in some locations, only shared bathrooms are available. Volunteers are not required to bring any bedding, but will need to pack a towel.

Program cost
(For more details about what is included in this cost, visit Global Village program cost.)

Build a better world: Take the Global Village Challenge
Habitat for Humanity International is challenging Global Village volunteers to make an even greater impact on the global issue of poverty housing. We are asking all GV teams to help us raise an additional $1.1 million in the coming year to support Habitat’s building projects worldwide. Take up the challenge! Join us in sharing our story and building a better world!

Team leaders
Elizabeth has built houses with Carter Work Projects in South Africa, Mexico, and the U.S. as well as with her local Habitat affiliate in New Mexico and Washington State. Her volunteerism with Habitat is broad—she has worked with partner families, Women Build teams, on land acquisition, operated a Habitat ReStore, and is on the board of directors of her local affiliate. When not volunteering with Habitat, Elizabeth works supporting recovery efforts in the U.S. following major disasters. During her career as an anthropologist in Alaska, Elizabeth traveled to many villages working with Alaska’s Native people. After leading a Global Village teams to Romania, Macedonia and Guatemala, she looks forward to working with local families build a community in El Salvador.

Jeanne is a former community college instructor and psychotherapist. She has traveled extensively, including Global Village trips to Tajikistan and Guatemala. Having lived many years on the central coast of California, she now lives in the Northwest where she enjoys backpacking and hiking, rowing and volunteering with the local Habitat affiliate. She is looking forward to sharing experiences with local families and team members in El Salvador.

Elizabeth and Jeanne may be contacted at

To apply for a GV trip, please follow the Application Instructions.

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