Educate, Empower & Engage Teen Girls in Honduras

by Organization for Youth Empowerment
Educate, Empower & Engage Teen Girls in Honduras
Educate, Empower & Engage Teen Girls in Honduras
Educate, Empower & Engage Teen Girls in Honduras
Educate, Empower & Engage Teen Girls in Honduras
Educate, Empower & Engage Teen Girls in Honduras
Educate, Empower & Engage Teen Girls in Honduras
Educate, Empower & Engage Teen Girls in Honduras
Educate, Empower & Engage Teen Girls in Honduras
Educate, Empower & Engage Teen Girls in Honduras
Educate, Empower & Engage Teen Girls in Honduras
Educate, Empower & Engage Teen Girls in Honduras
Educate, Empower & Engage Teen Girls in Honduras
Educate, Empower & Engage Teen Girls in Honduras
Educate, Empower & Engage Teen Girls in Honduras
Educate, Empower & Engage Teen Girls in Honduras
Educate, Empower & Engage Teen Girls in Honduras
Educate, Empower & Engage Teen Girls in Honduras
Educate, Empower & Engage Teen Girls in Honduras
Educate, Empower & Engage Teen Girls in Honduras
Educate, Empower & Engage Teen Girls in Honduras
Educate, Empower & Engage Teen Girls in Honduras
Educate, Empower & Engage Teen Girls in Honduras
Educate, Empower & Engage Teen Girls in Honduras
Educate, Empower & Engage Teen Girls in Honduras
Educate, Empower & Engage Teen Girls in Honduras
Educate, Empower & Engage Teen Girls in Honduras
Educate, Empower & Engage Teen Girls in Honduras
Educate, Empower & Engage Teen Girls in Honduras
Educate, Empower & Engage Teen Girls in Honduras
Educate, Empower & Engage Teen Girls in Honduras
Educate, Empower & Engage Teen Girls in Honduras
Educate, Empower & Engage Teen Girls in Honduras
Mariela, adolescent girl leader and advocate.
Mariela, adolescent girl leader and advocate.

Dear Friends,

Amidst the continued coronavirus lockdown, our work continues and is more important than ever.

With support from our community, OYE has continued to provide monthy scholarship support to 60 adolescent girls and young women (and 45 boys and young men) to help cover their basic needs and support at-home learning during the pandemic. Each month, members of our staff distribute scholarship checks by neighborhood, providing an opportunity for quick and socially distanced face-to-face check-ins. While there have been reported and suspected COVID cases among our staff, scholars and their immedate family members, we are fortunate to share that there have been very few serious hospitalizations and no deaths so far.

There is still so much uncertainty about how and when this school year will come to a close. In the meantime, our young scholars and leaders receive ongoing support to keep up with their schoolwork, participate in workshops to promote their mental and physical health and continue to develop critical 21st century skills through virtual arts, media and sports workshops and sessions every week. Through an initaitive of the Girls' Voices Movement, over 20 of our adolescent girls are participating in a free online videography course alongside girls across the globe to build their digital storytelling skills and share their experiences in this unique and challenging time.

In other news, adolescent girls of "Las Niñas Lideran el Cambio" (Girls Leading Change) launched a social media campaign on World Sexual Health Day (September 4th) to continue their push for the passing of a local public policy on comprehensive sex education. In a short video, 15-year-old girl leader and advocate Mariela expresses that while it is understandable that local government priorities have shifted to respond to the the pandemic and needs of the population, problems like adolescent pregnancy do not stop and are on the rise. We stand with, support and encourage our adolescent girl leaders as they advocate for a local change that will equip their peers and young people in our community with the knowledge and tools to make healthy choices about their sexual and social relationships, prevent unwanted pregnancies, and recognize and defend themselves from sexual violence and abuse at home and out in the world.

As always, thank you for being a part of this community and supporting our work to educate and empower girls and young women in Honduras.

In appreciation,
Amanda

P.S. This summer we launched the Adelante Circle, a global community of monthly donors who believe in the transformative power of education. For those if you who are already monthly donors, thank you! For more information, I invite you to visit our website.

Mariela and another girl leader, pre-pandemic.
Mariela and another girl leader, pre-pandemic.
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Dear Friends,

On March 8th, we joined the world in conmemorating International Women's Day. A day to reflect on the struggle and achievements of generations past and inspire new generation of activists to continue the movement. A day to recognize how far we have come but also how far we still have to go to achieve gender equality.

To conmemorate the occasion, a team of gender and sex education youth promoters - accompanied and guided by the youth leaders of our gender, sexuality and masculinity programming - organized a series of activites to reflect on the situation of girls and women in Honduras, the challenges they face and the struggles they undertake to defind their rights and build a more just and equitable world for all. They:

  • Wrote and dramatized a spin on popular tales, specifically Beauty and the Beast and Little Red Riding Hood, to exemplify violent relationships and street harrassment.
  • Told stories of Honduran women activists, including the late environmental and indigenous activist Berta Cáceres, and later painted their reflections and key messages on paper
  • Shared national statistics on gender-based violence and femicide and highlighted how mainstream media downplays and reports on violence against women.

In every space, the youth promoter team asked questions to promote deeper thinking and reflection among participants.

Soany, age 23, shared the following reflection: "We shouldn't romanticize anyone. That is an error. Sometimes we believe that for love we should put up with anything and think that someone is perfect. No. We should be realistic, see their flaws and try to work through them. And if we can't, then each person should go his or her direction. Because if we can't talk through things and understand each other, things will always end badly."

Earlier this year, in January, two young women leaders represented OYE at a convening of Global Fund for Children grantee organizations. At the same time, two of our adolescent girl leaders participated in the first generation of Rise Up's initiative 'Girls' Voices" in Honduras. For the first time, Rise Up invited adolescent girls to participate as fellows alongside mentors from their respective organizations for a week of girl-led and girl-centered advocacy training. At the end of the training, OYE was invited to submit a proposal for a local advocacy project on an issue affecting girls in our community. Our girls decided that they wanted to finish what they started and continue to advocate for the passing of a local public policy to make comprehensive sexuality education mandatory in public schools. You can read more about this initiative in previous reports.

Also in January, after a three-step selection process - including a written application, interview and home visit, - we welcomed 21 aspiring adolescent girls and young women scholars (and 11 adolescent boys and young men) to our signature "Adelante Jóvenes" Scholarship Program. We can't wait to see and share how they grow as scholars and leaders over the course of the coming year.

As always, thank you for being a part of this community and believing in the potential of girls and young women to change their lives, families and communities for the better.

In appreciation,
Amanda

International Women's Day: Dramatization of Tales
International Women's Day: Dramatization of Tales
International Women's Day: Youth Promoter Team
International Women's Day: Youth Promoter Team

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Britney, 2nd Generation Youth Promoter
Britney, 2nd Generation Youth Promoter

Dear Friends,

2019 has been a challenging year, to say the least.  But our staff, girls and young women have met every setback with resilience and creativity. For that, we have so much to be thankful for and celebrate. Including you, so thank you! 

Back in April, we shared that the girls of "Let Girls Lead" and the local Council for the Defense of Children and Youth's Rights presented and reviewed the first version of a local public policy to promote mandatory comprehensive sexuality education in public schools. After seemingly unending setbacks and delays, we were finally granted an audience to present the public policy to our local city council. When met with disinterest, our girls spoke up with passion. When met with resistence, they spoke up with clarity and conviction. While there is still more work ahead, we are now one step closer to getting the policy passed and put into practice.

Additionally, our girls continue to raise their voices for gender equality and against gender-based violence. Just a few days ago, in conmemoration of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, five of our girls attended the Center for Women's Rights forum "Free, Not Brave," where they shared their perspective on the violence that teen girls experience in Honduras.

Beyond "Let Girls Lead," OYE intentionally creates spaces for young women (and men) to learn about their sexual health and rights, reflect on and challenge patriarchal gender norms that dictate what is appropriate, acceptable and expected of them and how they should relate to other people of the same and different genders. Over the past year, a group of four of our youth leaders have traveled throughout Central America and Mexico facilitating youth leadership conferences to promote gender equality and cultures of peace. Over the past few months, they have invested their time in training a new generation of youth promoters.

Britney, pictured above, is a part of this new generation of youth promoters. In her words:

"By participating in each workshop, I learned so many things that have helped me in my life and those that surround me. I learned how to understand my emotions and that it is not bad to feel or express anger, love, sadness, happiness, or any other emotion. I learned about sexuality, which is something I didn't know much about before. And I learned that macho culture - machismo - affects all of us. I now consider myself to be an agent of change and I am inspired to continue learning and sharing what I have learned with those around me."

In just two weeks time, nine of our girl scholars will graduate from high school! We can't wait to share special moments and photographs from their big day with you. And next Tuesday, Dec. 3rd, we will be kicking off our holiday giving campaign with #GivingTuesday. We hope you will join the celebration and make a special gift in honor of an inspiring girl or woman in your life.

In the meantime, thank you so much for your support in making this important work possible!

In appreciation,
Amanda

Britney during workshop with Youth Promoters
Britney during workshop with Youth Promoters
Public policy presentation to local city council
Public policy presentation to local city council
Girls in front of El Progreso Municipal Palace
Girls in front of El Progreso Municipal Palace

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Keyla and family on her graduation day this May
Keyla and family on her graduation day this May

Hi Friends,

As always, I just want to take a moment to thank you for being here. For your confidence in our work and your committment to educating girls and young women in Honduras. We could not continue this important work without you by our side.

Since we last checked in, three of our young women scholars have achieved one of the most important milestones in their educational journeys - college graduation!

First is Keyla, whose journey we have shared on several occasions. She graduated magna cum laude from law school this May. She continues to be involved with the organization, supporting and mentoring OYE's new generation of youth leaders and advocating for the passing and implementation of a local public policy to make comprehensive sexuality education mandatory in public schools in El Progreso.

Next is Fabiola, who graduated cum laude with a degree in computer science. She is now embarking on the next step - the job search! While we know this is an uphill battle in Honduras, where unemployment and lack of opportunities is one of the main factors that pushes young people - even college graduates - to migrate north, we are confident that Fabiola has all of the tools and skills she needs to find meaningful employment in her field.

And most recently, Heyli graduated cum laude with a degree in business administration. Since her childhood, she has lived with her cousin and aunt, who sells tamales - a traditional Honduran food - to make ends meet.

To Heyli: "OYE means emotional and economic support. OYE means family to those of us who appreciate every opportunity this organization provides. OYE means personal growth that pushes us to achieve our goals."

Heyli is currently employed as a sales supervisor at a women's apparel and accessories store and actively seeking scholarship opportunities to continue her education abroad.

While these three women have reached this incredible milestone, we continue to support nearly 70 teen girls and young women - and 50 teen boys and young men - on their educational journeys. Each day they move closer towards high school and college graduations of their own. 

We know that education is key to transforming girls and young women's lives, families and communities forever. Your generous and consistent support makes our work possible and sustainable year after year. And your continued support is vital to expand OYE's reach and provide these opportunities to even more girls in our community who need and deserve support to stay in school and reach their full potential.

Thanks again for your support!

In appreciation,
Amanda

Fabiola on her graduation day this May
Fabiola on her graduation day this May
Heyli with family and OYE on her graduation day
Heyli with family and OYE on her graduation day

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Empowered girls Elisa and Migdalia
Empowered girls Elisa and Migdalia

Dear Friends,

We can't believe it is already April! We have so much to tell you, but first we would like to thank you for your continued support.

Over the past couple years, several of our girl scholars and peers from their schools have participated in the initiative "Let Girls Lead," a global movement to empower girls to tell their stories, create solutions to the pressing challenges they face and lead change in their families and communities. Inspired and led by their mentor, scholar and soon-to-be lawyer Keyla, these girls have become confident and empowered to speak up and advocate for their rights - including their right to comprehensive sexuality education in their schools.

After many months of hard work, and some sweat and tears along the way, we are so proud to share that this March, the girls of "Let Girls Lead" and the local Council for the Defense of Children and Youth's Rights, presided by the Vice Mayor of our city, presented and reviewed the first version of a local public policy to promote mandatory comprehensive sexuality education in public schools.

During the presentation, Elisa, a scholar and empowered girl of "Let Girls Lead," talked about how teen pregnancy limits girls' present and future opportunities and insisted on the need for all girls to have access to comprehensive sexuality education. Inspired by her words and understanding the importance of ensuring girls have the information they need to make smart and healthy choices for their futures, representatives of the present institutions and organizations assured their commitment to continue to advance the approval process and work towards its implementation.

Little by little, we move forward and cultivate spaces where girls and young women are encouraged to speak out for themselves and for the rights of girls in their schools, communities and everywhere.

Speaking of "Little by Little," we want to share a unique opportunity that only comes around once a year. As a superstar organization on GlobalGiving, every gift to OYE up to $50 - from today until April 12th - will be matched at 60%. New recurring donations, up to $200, will receive an additional 100% match on the initial donation.

You have already done so much to support our work, and for that we are so grateful! This is the perfect opportunity to share our work - and why you believe in us - with your friends and family, and maximize the power of small donations.

Help us grow our community - little by little - and continue to empower girls together! Today and throughout the week, we encourage you to go through your mental rolodex and reach out to friends and family who may be interested in making a small donation to educate, empower and engage girls in Honduras!

As always, thank you for your continued support.

In appreciation,
Amanda

Elisa speaking at the public policy presentation
Elisa speaking at the public policy presentation
Keyla talks to local media about "Let Girls Lead"
Keyla talks to local media about "Let Girls Lead"
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Organization Information

Organization for Youth Empowerment

Location: Washington, DC - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @oyehonduras
Project Leader:
Amanda Hall
Development Coordinator
Washington, DC United States
$24,077 raised of $25,000 goal
 
385 donations
$923 to go
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