Organization for Youth Empowerment

OYE has served the at-risk youth population of El Progreso, Honduras since its foundation in 2005. Through the years, OYE has evolved from a straightforward scholarship program to an integrated educational and leadership program with the mission of forming socially-conscious youth leaders who are agents of change in their communities. We envision a society where Honduran youth are active contributors to the positive development of their country.
Mar 12, 2015

NiNis No More

Alex painting his first canvas at OYE.
Alex painting his first canvas at OYE.

Hello Friends and Supporters,

Did you know that 800,000 youth in Honduras neither study nor work? In Spanish, they are known as the "NiNis" - ni trabajan, ni estudian - and are among the most vulnerable populations of Honduras. Without opportunities to study or work, youth are increasingly vulnerable to violence and exploitation, especially young girls.

If you wonder about OYE's power to transform young lives, look no further than the Rodriguez brothers. For Alex (18) and Rey (19), attending high school was never a guarantee. Each year, it became increasingly difficult to pay for books, supplies and uniforms. Three years ago, the costs of education became too much to bear, forcing the brothers to drop out of high school before completing the 9th grade. They became 2 of the 800,000 “NiNis”: young, poor, neither working nor studying. Like so many of their peers, their lives could have easily taken a different course: joining a gang or making the dangerous journey north. Instead, Alex and Rey walked through OYE's doors for the first time this April and discovered a renewed sense of purpose and belonging. They have since become active participants in OYE’s Arte La Calle art program and have proven themselves to be inspiring youth leaders and valuable contributors to OYE’s diverse community-based actions. At OYE, young people often discover and develop talents they never knew they had. Alex and Rey are counted among 19 of OYE's new scholars of 2015.

You make this work possible.

On January 16th, we kicked off the year with our annual welcoming ceremony, the Entrega de Becas, where we recognized and welcomed all 74 of our scholarship students and their parents. The event gave new scholars and their families the opportunity to learn more about OYE's mission and vision, emphasizing the opportunities OYE provides for youth apart from the scholarship, including leadership development and community engagement opportunities in the arts, communications and sports.

The entirety of OYE’s work is dedicated to breaking cycles of poverty and empowering young people to become agents of change and contribute to the positive transformation of Honduras. In an area where so many have failed, OYE’s mission endures. Honduras’ future rests in the hands of its many youth. We thank you for your support and invite you to continue to support OYE to provide opportunities to Honduran youth who choose to stay and build a brighter future in and for Honduras.

In appreciation,
Amanda

Programs Coordinator addressing aspiring scholars.
Programs Coordinator addressing aspiring scholars.
Aspiring new scholars during selection process.
Aspiring new scholars during selection process.
Group shot from holiday/end-of-year celebration!
Group shot from holiday/end-of-year celebration!

Links:

Nov 21, 2014

Beyond the Individual

Oscar standing next to his winning design!
Oscar standing next to his winning design!

Hello Friends,

You may remember Oscar, one of our all-star scholars who was selected and subsequently attended the Iberian Youth Forum in Montevideo, Uruguay last November. We are happy, though not surprised, to report that his streak of success continues. This September, he entered a graphic design contest for the Dipecho project, a disaster risk reduction campaign launched by the Irish development agency Trócaire… and he won! The skills Oscar has developed through his participation in OYE’s graphic design program, which he now coordinates, were on full display at the campaign launch in San Pedro Sula, where his design was prominently displayed on banners, signs and posters to promote the campaign. We know this is just the beginning to an incredibly bright future for this talented young Honduran.

Thanks to your support, OYE is able to offer opportunities for youth to develop skills and leadership; express their ideas through art, media and communications; and build their confidence. Investment in the integral education of youth goes way beyond the individual. Education breaks the cycle of poverty; it is as simple as that. Building confidence and empowering leaders transforms communities.

Since OYE's foundation in 2005, nearly 500 young Hondurans have received the gift of education. This would never have been possible without your generous support. As we read the applications of next year’s scholarship hopefuls, we are moved by their stories of struggle and of loss and inspired by their aspirations and desire to overcome their circumstances. Everyone has the right to education, yet the reality of extreme poverty forces many children and youth to drop out of school and search for employment just to survive. This reminds us of why we do what we do. But we want to do more.

As we enter the giving season, please consider making a contribution to provide even more promising youth with the opportunity to stay in Honduras, enjoy their right to education and create a better future for themselves, their families and their communities.

And as always, thank you for your partnership in this important work.

P.S. After several months of development, we finally launched our new and completely redesigned website this September. Check it out here.

Building confidence through artistic expression.
Building confidence through artistic expression.
Empowering young leaders transforms communities.
Empowering young leaders transforms communities.
Education breaks the cycle of poverty.
Education breaks the cycle of poverty.

Links:

Aug 21, 2014

Giving Honduran Youth a Reason to Stay

Radio Forum, Effects of Immigration in Honduras
Radio Forum, Effects of Immigration in Honduras

Dear Friends,

As we commemorated our 9th Anniversary this year, we celebrated our successes and how far we've come over the past nine years and at the same time acknowledge how much more we want to do to serve at-risk youth in El Progreso. It is because of you, our generous supporters, that we have achieved so many successes over the past nine years and we are counting on your support to continue to build the capacity of young Honduran leaders to break the cycle of poverty and create positve change in their lives and communities.

The recent wave of unaccompanied minors from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador arriving at the U.S. border - called an "urgent humanitarian situation" by President Obama - has sparked international attention, causing several international and regional humanitarian organizations to investigate the conditions that are causing increasing numbers of children and youth to abandon their homes and seek refuge in the U.S.

On July 28th, two of OYE's youth leaders participated in a youth forum hosted by World Vision, who sent representatives to travel the region to listen to the stories of its youth, the realities they face day to day and their perspectives on why so many young people are making the perilous journey across the border. Through their stories and experiences, they identified the central government's corruption and inability to protect its people, provide a quality education and provide employment opportunities as the primary reasons for leaving. One of OYE's university scholars shared the experience of three of her cousins who saw no other option than to flee Honduras after the murder of their brother, who paid the ultimate price for leaving the gang life behind him upon their father's death. They are among the thousands of victims of Honduras' rampant impunity.

On August 9th, OYE's art project Arte La Calle collaborated with our corporate ally and supporter KM2 Solutions to paint a mural at a grade school (serving students from 1st-9th grade) in a low-income area of San Pedro Sula. In light of the school's challenge with student retention, especially after the 6th grade, they created a motivational mural sharing the message: "You can be anything you want to be."

On August 16th, OYE's radio project Ritmo Online hosted a radio forum on the effects of immigration on Honduran youth, attended by youth from two of El Progreso's prominent high schools. Panelists from ERIC (Research Division community radio station Radio Progreso), Cofamipro (Committee of Relatives of Disappeared Migrants from El Progreso) and Amiredis (Disabled Returned Migrant Association) cited lack of opportunities, violence and impunity as the major sources of recent migrations and provided powerful testimonies of the dangers involved in crossing the border illegally, especially for young women.

The most vulnerable of Honduras' youth are those who find themselves in conditions of extreme poverty and without opportunities to study or to work. Through small, but valuable educational stipends, OYE currently provides nearly 60 low-income youth with the opportunity to stay in school, reducing (though not eliminating) their vulnerability to violence and giving them a reason to believe in a future in Honduras. Since 2005, over 450 local youth have received this valuable scholarship and opportunity. In addition to providing the opportunity for promising students to continue their studies at the high school and university level, OYE strives to provide a safe space for youth to express themselves and realize the power of their collective voice.

In a country where youth are so often connected to violence and gang activity - both as perpetrators and as victims - OYE's youth are in the streets spreading positive messages and inspiring confidence in their role as the future leaders of Honduras. OYE believes in the power of youth to change their communities and country. OYE's youth believe in the power of their voices. We thank you for believing, too.

In appreciation and gratitude,

Amanda Hall

World Vision Youth Forum on Immigration
World Vision Youth Forum on Immigration
Mural collaboration at grade school in Armenta.
Mural collaboration at grade school in Armenta.
Celebrating 9 Years.
Celebrating 9 Years.

Links:

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