Hope in Honduras: New Homes and a Path Out of Poverty for 145 Families
COCONUT CREEK, Fla. (Nov. 2, 2020) They live in houses made of mud and scraps, without water or sanitation, isolated from roads, schools or health clinics, and earn less than a dollar a day, well below Honduras' $1.90 demarcation point that is considered living in extreme poverty.
But these 145 families living in extreme poverty in Honduras soon will come together in a new kind of community that will transform their lives, thanks to generous Food For The Poor donors.
The families will be the foundation of the Bosques de Santa Lucia community development that will not only provide them with safe shelter, running water and flushable toilets, but give them access to training and economic opportunities so they can lift themselves and future generations out of poverty.
The massive project will be built in phases over the next five years.
"We're taking a holistic approach to helping families out of poverty, in a region where there is little hope of doing so on their own," said Food For The Poor President/CEO Ed Raine. "A major part of these planned communities will be income-generating activities that will help families sustain these efforts on their own, generation after generation. We would not be able to do this without the incredible support of our donors."
Key strategic partners will oversee and carry out various aspects of the development, including CEPUDO, the charity's in-country partner; Water Mission; the University of Notre Dame; Fundacion Capital; and the municipality of Illama.
Water Mission will build a treatment system to deliver clean drinking water to the community and provide training to instill good hygiene practices.
Fundación Capital will provide financial literacy training to help residents develop financial skills, crucial as families learn to run a family budget, how to save money and how to run their own businesses or what it takes to work with a team for an employer.
The municipality of Illama donated land for the community and is providing teachers and staff for a new school, a day care and an outreach center.
Honduras ranks as the second poorest country in Central America, with two-thirds of the population living below the poverty line. In rural areas, one out of every five Hondurans lives in extreme poverty on less than $1.90 per day.
The majority of residents who will live in Bosques de Santa Lucia come from the surrounding area, making hammocks and other textiles. Others work as informal day laborers on nearby farms.
Maria Antonia Gomez lives in a dilapidated house on the edge of the street with her son, David, who is unable to walk. Their beds and belongings get soaked every time it rains.
"My father died. I am alone," she said. "In this pandemic, I could not go out to look for jobs like washing clothes. Our neighbors helped us with what they could."
Carlos Alberto Guzmán Muñoz has seven children, including five who live with him. He rents because he doesn't have land or money to build a house. He sells hammocks daily, but because of the pandemic, business is down.
"It is not enough to feed my children," he said. "We need a decent house."
Reyna Marisela Lopez Cano lives with her husband and six children in a house largely held together by nylon sheets. They don't have a bathroom, clean water or electricity.
"The pandemic has not allowed us to find a job," she said. "God is great and will give me a decent home and will bless the people who help us."
FFTP and CEPUDO did an initial survey of the local market to determine the needs of families and the most feasible income-generating opportunities and training necessary to ensure the long-term success of new businesses.
The University of Notre Dame's Meyer Business on the Frontlines Program expanded on those findings and did a full market study to determine viable businesses and develop a business plan.
Since the study was completed before the COVID-19 pandemic, the program has agreed to update its findings since some of the potential jobs, such as selling sandwiches to people waiting in line to visit relatives in a nearby prison, may no longer be viable with social distancing.
Raine said the project will unify the community and provide opportunities for adults, as well as for hundreds of children who will find themselves growing up in a bright new world ripe with opportunity.
Food For The Poor, one of the largest international relief and development organizations in the nation, does much more than feed millions of hungry children and families living in poverty primarily in 17 countries of the Caribbean and Latin America. This interdenominational Christian ministry provides emergency relief assistance, clean water, medicine, educational materials, homes, support for orphaned and abandoned children, care for the aged, skills training and micro-enterprise development assistance. For more information, please visit www.FoodForThePoor.org.
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