In Honduras, as the tropical sun rises over sprawling cities and banana plantations, children get ready for a day at school. But while one child puts on his freshly washed uniform, eats breakfast and jumps in his father’s car, a few streets way another child walks empty-stomached in their stained shirt and stapled sandals to a school where one teacher may have forty children crowded in a single room. By midday, the sun on the tin roof will have turned the classrooms into an oven, and when the rainy season comes, the echoes of the rain on the metal will drown out the sound of the teacher’s voice. When the school day draws to a close, the first child will leave school and go home to his house to watch TV or play games, but the latter child may have to spend their afternoon working. Many children sell popcorn, nuts or chewing gum, or provide simple services like shoe shining to earn a few lempiras to support their families or to buy their school supplies. In the coffee-harvesting season, many children in rural schools leave for weeks at a time to help their families in the fields.
While the net attendance ratio for primary school participation is around 93% for both males and females, the survival rate to the last primary grade is only 74.8%. In secondary school, the net attendance ratio falls under 50% (UNICEF, 2013).
Honduras is the second-poorest country in Central America. Over 66% of the population suffer from poverty to some degree, and in rural areas, about 1 in 5 people live in extreme poverty, defined as less than US$1.90 a day. Since a coup d’état in 2009, inequality in Honduras has risen faster than in any other country in Latin America, making it now the most unequal country in the region. Violence and crime are also rampant, and Honduras has one of the highest homicide rates in the world (World Bank, 2017).
At educate., we believe that educating future generations is the best way to foster long-term sustainable development in Honduras.
The importance of education is widely seen as key for development to take place. Quality education was named number four on the Global Goals for Sustainable Development in September 2015 as one of the main factors needed to end “extreme poverty, inequality and climate change by 2030”. Education is also a priority for global institutions such as UNICEF and international NGOs like Plan International, and Global Citizen have claimed that youth unemployment will be the “next big crisis” due to a continued lack of opportunity for youth to gain education and training.
More than simply being important however, education is a human right. Regardless of gender, ethnicity, sexuality, socioeconomic background or other circumstances, all human beings have a basic right to education. Sadly, this right is still denied to many.
Education opens doors. With a quality education, individuals have a chance to get a better-paid job, develop their communities, support their families, and ultimately rise out of poverty. This can lead to economic growth for the country as a whole. Girls who gain an education are less likely to have children early in life, and education about health and sanitation can help prevent sickness and promote healthy nutrition. Education makes people aware of their rights and responsibilities, and makes people more likely to vote in popular elections. It builds confidence, knowledge, and skills. In a country with as much gang violence as Honduras, opportunities for education also help keep children in school rather than on the streets where they are vulnerable to gang recruitment.
With an education, children and youth from backgrounds of poverty, abuse, discrimination and violence are empowered to work their way towards better lives. When you support education, you support the development of people and of countries as a whole. In the words of Nelson Mandela, “education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”
Support educate. to help us change the lives of children and youth in Honduras.