Nestled between the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean,
with tropical mountains, warm beaches and friendly people, Honduras is the
second-poorest nation in Central America. High unemployment and economic
disparity have triggered rapidly rising crime rates, causing instability.
At the same time, the nearly constant threat of natural
disasters from hurricanes to earthquakes makes life hard for Hondurans. The
country’s terrain and inequities make it difficult to build roads. Without
roads to provide access, it is difficult to promote economic, social,
political, cultural and educational unity.
ChildFund has served children in Honduras since 1982.
In remote communities, where the nearest clinic may be six
hours walking downhill on a dirt road, families rely on Traditional Birth
Attendants, Health Monitors and Guide Mothers who are volunteers from their own
communities. Through these volunteers, ChildFund teaches mothers and families
about safe water management, HIV and AIDS prevention and treatment, proper pre- and
post-natal care, nutrition and early childhood stimulation.
The Traditional Birth Attendants guide mothers through their
pregnancies and help them prepare a birth plan. The program has succeeded in
improving the knowledge, attitudes and practices of both pregnant women and
maternal health providers. Maternal and child mortality decreased by 50 percent
from 2006 to 2010, and the rate of deliveries in health centers (rather than
unattended, at home) has risen from 35 percent to 50 percent.
When children are born, the Health Monitors begin to track
their weight and the growth until age 5. These specially trained men and women
provide vital health information to help families protect themselves from a
variety of preventable diseases, including malaria and life-threatening
diarrhea. Those they find with unhealthy weights are referred to Health Huts
for care, nutritional assistance and further education.
Guide Mothers visit homes to teach the mothers about various
aspects of child development — communication and language, motor skills and
cognitive and socio-emotional development — and what is appropriate for a
child’s age. With proper stimulation and health care, children are better
prepared as they take their next steps, into school.
Classrooms in many communities have one teacher for multiple
grades, creating learning challenges for the children. By training teachers and
involving parents, the Child-Friendly School program seeks to strengthen the
educational quality of rural area schools by promoting adequate conditions for
increasing school coverage and performance of children aged 6 to 14.
The children develop skills and knowledge for life. They
participate actively in their learning with the involvement of parents,
teachers and community members to create friendly, safe, caring and inclusive
Youth Work to Bring Change
A top priority for ChildFund Honduras is providing children
and youth with leadership and advocacy skills. The youth then work
strategically, often with adult community leaders, to bring about change in
their communities, such as improved roads and infrastructure.
“Our youth and the
rest of the population want there to be peace and security. We dream of a safe
town free of crime,” says Francisco, a youth reporter working to change his
hometown for the better.