TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras — Honduras ranks second in poverty among Central American countries, and 80 percent of its families live in insecure conditions. As a result, education in Honduras suffers. Many children drop out of school in order to help provide for their families. According to Bless the Children, only 30 percent of children in the country attend high school.
These statistics stand in contrast to the results of a survey conducted by Education Development Center (EDC). The survey reported that Honduran youth have a desire not only to learn, but also to find stable employment and achieve milestones in education such as graduating from high school.
The problem is not a disdain for education among Honduran youth; the problem is poverty. According to EDC, “poverty and the lack of economic opportunity are persistent obstacles for young people and their parents.” The country ranks 121st out of 187 countries in poverty and is largely divided into two groups, rural and urban. In rural areas, 36 percent of people live in extreme poverty.
Because of these conditions, children must often decide between pursuing their own futures and assisting their families, between attending school and working to help put food on the table. The cycle of poverty continues as children drop out of school, forfeiting the education they need to find better-paying work.
EDC aims to improve “education, health and economic opportunities for people of all ages.” In Honduras, the organization focuses on the needs of young people.
Through a program called Proyecto METAS, EDC partners with government officials, NGOs and schools. Together, they create opportunities for out-of-school youth to learn basic skills for life and work. By developing internship opportunities and increasing access to quality secondary education, EDC is effectively working toward solving the problems associated with education in Honduras.
Another organization, the Global Partnership for Education (GPE), is trying to keep children in school for as long as possible. GPE empowers parents and children by providing social benefits such as transportation and school meals. The organization helps removes obstacles from parents’ way as they aim to support their children’s education.
Children who have already dropped out of school are welcomed back through GPE’s alternative learning programs, including distance and accelerated learning. The organization also seeks to make education more accessible for rural populations.
Though there is much work to be done, these organizations’ accomplishments are grounds for celebration and renewed hope that the cycle of poverty will be broken and education in Honduras will someday thrive.
– Rebecca Causey