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. The nearly constant threat of natural disasters from hurricanes to earthquakes makes life hard for Honduran people, particularly the poorer populations located in higher-risk areas. The country’s terrain and inequities make it difficult to build roads, limiting access to basic services. Poverty in Honduras is a problem that affects many.
ChildFund has served children in Honduras since 1982. Help make a difference and sponsor a child in Honduras today.
Ages 0 – 5: Healthy and Secure
ChildFund is helping provide better healthcare access to the youngest children, which has resulted in lower rates of malnutrition among children younger than 2, from 9 percent to just below 6 percent in 2015. We support 36 community health units, where children under 5 are monitored for illness, malnutrition and other ailments, and more than 1,500 trained guide mothers visited 4,738 children last year, making sure they were healthy and developing properly. Also, with funding from the government of Honduras, ChildFund has improved maternal, neonatal and primary healthcare access and coverage in the south of the country. More than 1,000 children under 5 were immunized against polio and measles.
Ages 6 – 14: Educated and Confident
Helping Honduran children become confident and educated is a major priority for ChildFund. We support 178 schools by providing furniture and educational materials, as well as training tutors at 350 after-school centers in math and Spanish teaching methods. Last year, 90 percent of children who went to the centers passed these subjects. Parents also are getting involved by attending workshops on creating a peaceful home, which helps children learn and become more self-confident. Finally, we offer many opportunities for community members to support children and their schools, including national educational policy reform, community preschools and kindergartens, which have not been publicly funded before now in Honduras.
Ages 15 – 24: Skilled and Involved
We support youth by offering life skills, health education, arts, culture and sports programs, which also emphasize conflict resolution, tolerance and violence prevention. ChildFund and our local partners also encourage young people to participate in their communities and advocate for their rights. Because many youth don’t have the resources to continue their education, we’ve offered more than 2,000 scholarships in the past year so they can stay in school.
Secure and Maintained Resources
In July 2014, Honduras’ government declared a drought emergency, leading to an international response to address food insecurity, water shortage and an economic downturn. ChildFund, working with other nongovernmental organizations, has helped provide communities with safe drinking water and hygiene supplies, as well as working with communities to prevent future food insecurity through sustainable agriculture by promoting water harvesting and irrigation systems. In 2015, 14 community wells were repaired, and more than 350 micro-irrigation systems were built.
Gang Violence in Honduras
Gang violence has plagued Honduras for many years and given it the reputation of being a very dangerous country. More than 4,700 children and youth belong to gangs in Honduras, according to a report by UNICEF in 2012. Since 2010, Honduras has had one of the highest murder rates in the world, according to the U.S. State Department.
According to a 2013 report by Honduras’ National Human Rights Commission, 458 children under the age of 18 were murdered between 2010 and 2013, mainly by members of gangs or other organized crime groups. Because of the violence, many youth decide to leave Honduras entirely; a 2014 report by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees found that 34 percent of child migrants from Honduras gave gang violence as a reason for leaving home.
Gangs in Honduras contribute to a vicious cycle of poverty and crime. Due to high violence and crime rates, children feel endangered and respond by joining gangs that further prolong the violence. ChildFund works to end this cycle by providing youths with vocational training and educational opportunities so that they can create safer, sustainable livelihoods. We provide training and professional development programs in areas such as auto repair, electrical engineering, clothing alteration and carpentry, where young people learn the skills they need to find work and support themselves as independent adults.
ChildFund works to provide children and youth with alternatives to joining gangs or fleeing their home country to escape violence. By implementing the “Miles de Manos” (Thousands of Hands) project in several communities, we involve young people, parents, educators and other community members in learning about peaceful conflict resolution, good citizenship and advocacy for children’s rights. We also offer youth-friendly spaces where teens can talk about their problems and seek advice in a confidential setting.