Radio Forum, Effects of Immigration in Honduras
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,
World Vision Youth Forum on Immigration
Mural collaboration at grade school in Armenta.
Celebrating 9 Years.