By Eve Horowitz / Executive Director
“Who ARE these people?”, I am frequently asked, “and are they really ‘storming’ the US border?” Oh my, where to start . . . I’ll start with my base-line identity. I’m a parent. I have two kids who are just about done being kids. With stable housing, good educations, and healthcare, they’re now (mostly) out on their own. So, let’s meet here, thinking of young people in our lives who we love very much, and you’re asking why Hondurans are WALKING to the United States border with their children.
Now empty your refrigerator and turn out the lights as if you have no food or electricity. There is no door on your house so be aware that you have no protection if someone who shouldn’t come in decides to come in. Your children are hungry and its hard to find work. Even if you DO have work, the wage is about $1.35 USD per hour, so after a 10 hour day, you’ve earned slightly more than the equivalent of $15 USD.
Now look at your children! They’re still you’re children. They’re smart, silly, inquisitive – – they’re BEAUTIFUL and filled with potential. They hope to learn, to grow strong, to be someone who makes a difference. They deserve every opportunity to succeed.
I forgot to mention water. It’s rainy season and the floor of your one-room home is dirt. Well, right now, it’s mud. You have no bathroom, just an outhouse in your backyard. It’s hard to keep the kids healthy, and parasites, lice, pink-eye, and diarrhea are ongoing problems.
And drugs. There is a big demand for drugs in the US and although Honduras is not where most drugs are from, it’s a pass-thru country and the cartels look for young workers to move their product to market. Your child? My child? Those ‘workers’ end up in gangs and organized crime. It’s deadly to try to get out.
There are so many variables that have created the situation at the US border, not the least of which is the politicizing of innocent families who are fleeing because they have no choice. Honduras is a beautiful country with hardworking, caring people, but it’s clearly understandable why these migrants – – refugees really, feel they have no option but to start walking toward the US. Yet, do you want to know the most important thing? They don’t want to leave their beautiful country and their beloved families. THEY DON’T WANT TO GO.
January 2019 will make 10 years since we started working in El Porvenir. Children who we knew in Kinder are close to graduating from high school. Students who have worked their way thru our elementary PEP+ program and into adult English classes are now young adults in university. While we obviously would never claim that we have solved the huge social issues surrounding poverty and corruption, we DO know that for people in El Porvenir, the educational enrichment programs have offered the opportunity to become bilingual, learn computers, boost their nutrition, and learn essential skills. These small but powerful steps create ACCESS to opportunities within Honduras and make it easier to stay.
The ‘ayudante’ program, scholars program, and uniform program take it to the next step by eliminating obstacles that keep students out of school. Your donations are helping students successfully attend elementary school and complete colegio (high school), and with your help, the Honduran ayudantes (interns) receive a stipend that helps with university expenses.
Here are just a few success stories that you, our volunteers and supporters, are making possible . . . .
Success story: Scholarship for High school
HUGE shout out to Keily who just finished 11th grade with honors! We have known Keily since she was in kinder and this is her second year in the HCA Scholars Program. She’s even participating in our Ayudantes Program during her school break (Nov, Dec, and Jan)! Keily is a hard worker and dedicated student. We are incredibly proud of her and so lucky to have her on our team!
Success Story: ‘Ayudantes’ (interns)
Some work by picking pineapples in the mornings, then at Honduras Child Alliance in the afternoons, while also attending university. With your help, HCA can provide a stipend that makes it possible for these amazing role models to gain work experience by teaching in our PEP+ classes while also helping them pay for some of their own educational expenses. Win-win!
Success Story: PEP-3 Classroom Coming Soon!
Progress is being made at the new PEP-3 classroom but lack of funds is slowing us down! This past week we completed three of the eleven window frames at what will soon be a lively classroom for all ages. However, the location still needs your support; your contribution will provide windows and doors to secure the building and protect the classroom from the elements. With your help, we’ll be able to start using this classroom in January!
Success Story: Addressing Food Insecurity.
Food insecurity is a big problem in our community and many children in each of our three locations arrive to class hungry.
Our Healthy Snacks program addresses this by providing a protein-filled snack to each child. In the last 2 years our donors have made it possible to ramp up the quantity and quality of the food provided but ongoing donations are always needed since more and more children are attending the programs and we’re expanding PEP-3.
If you’re able to help, a monthly donation of even $15 would make a true impact!