Our Beginnings

ASAPROSAR began with the vision of Dr. Vicky Guzmán. Born and raised in Santa Ana, El Salvador, Vicky Guzmán studied medicine in Mexico. Returning to her native land, she turned down a lucrative career as an urban doctor to work in remote areas of El Salvador with people who had never seen a doctor before, much less a woman doctor. Often they could only pay her with eggs or chickens.

The villagers believed it was inevitable that they would get malaria every year and lose some of their children to diarrhea. Vicky taught them how to break this cycle through preventive medicine. Her method was to train local leaders to serve as health educators in their communities, as well as to provide first aid and basic care.

This is the same model Vicky has followed since she founded ASAPROSAR in 1986, with the goal of empowering the poor. Today ASAPROSAR is a dynamic organization with programs focused on an integrated health approach. Overall well being and human development are the focus of our Rural Health, Youth and Adolescents, Micro-Credit, Sustainable Agriculture, and Visual Health programs.

Why Gold?

When visiting ASAPROSAR or viewing photos of staff and volunteers you will notice a lot of gold shirts… why gold?

The gold shirt came to symbolize ASAPROSAR during the Salvadoran civil war. Dr. Vicky Guzman was meeting with leaders from the warring left and right. Dr. Vicky explained to the group that her workers in the rural villages were being interfered with, threatened and sometimes harmed. Dr. Vicky explained that she and her workers were helping the neediest Salvadorans regardless of which side they were on and she needed to insure their safety. Both sides agreed to honor a color identification that represented her group and their work but the color could not be one of any of the political parties in the country. A gold/bright yellow color was chosen so that they could clearly be identified in the jungle and hills of western El Salvador.

Even today when volunteers arrive at the ASAPROSAR office to participate in a work trip they are given a gold shirt. The color represents hope and is a testament to those who fought through the war without bearing arms.