Why La Entrada?
Honduras is the second poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. Poverty has a different meaning for children born in Honduras, because there is no safety net, no system of support. Inadequate health care is the rule not the exception, and basic services that people in the USA take for granted are simply not provided or are provided inadequately. Public education is not free and illiteracy is rampant. The poorest children are not provided the opportunity to work their way out of their circumstances, and have little hope for a better future or an escape from a life of poverty.
Being born into a first world country, it can sometimes be hard to understand what it means to live in the third world. Often it is hard to have sympathy for those with problems we may not be able to comprehend or have never experienced firsthand. Many say, “We need to do work at home. We have our own problems. We face challenges, poverty and need. There are people in the US who are homeless, who don't have enough food, whose local school systems aren't safe or adequate. There are people with limited access to adequate health care services or who have special needs due to physical or mental illnesses or disabilities.” However, in the United States there is a safety net that catches most people when they struggle. There are non-profit organizations, social services, and government programs for those who fall on hard times or are born into difficult circumstances. Not all of these resources are perfect, not all access to these programs is easy. But as a nation, we are protected. All of us are supported and secure in our pursuit of happiness. In America, none of our children are denied access to school. For our people, our families and our youth, anything is possible. We may struggle and we may have to work very hard, but in our country, we can change our lives and we have hope for the future and for our future generations.
Geography & Circumstances
Honduras is located in Central America, between Guatemala and Nicaragua and borders the Gulf of Fonseca (North Pacific Ocean) and the Caribbean Sea. Honduras is roughly the size of Tennessee and ranks as one of the poorest countries in the Western Hemisphere. The country suffers from massive unemployment and illiteracy, as well as violence. Drug trafficking and crime are fueled by poverty and rising unemployment. Approximately 65% of Hondurans live in poverty while 85% of adults are undereducated. Those born into poverty have little opportunity to change their lives, or improve their circumstances without intervention or education.
Children of the poorest families are the hardest hit. Many children in La Entrada suffer from malnutrition and do not get an opportunity to attend school. In many cases this is because their parents cannot afford the cost of uniforms, books, etc. needed to attend public school. More often than not, in the poorest communities, the children have to work selling goods on the streets to make money for the family to survive. Older siblings care for younger siblings, and families struggle to meet day-to-day needs.
The Hearts For Honduras School was created to support the at-risk youth of La Entrada, Honduras and offer an alternative path for the families and community there. In addition to offering a well-rounded education and spiritual guidance, the school offers every student a nutritious meal every day, vitamins, basic medical and dental care, and community/family programming and support for the family of every student. But less tangible than this, is the impact of the school on the broader community, the shift in the way the people of La Entrada think about the value of education, and the hope that exists for a generation free from poverty.