Local Impact

social responsibility in Honduras Local Involvement  - cultivating a sense of social responsibility
 
Social responsibility is a learned trait. The founders of ProNino are both Honduran and American citizens.  And they have helped us understand that the strong American sense of social responsibility is a learned trait.  We take it for granted because so much of us have grown up in societies that care for each other (at least to some degree).  Most of the middle class in Honduras is blind to the issue of street children.  They do not see them, and further they don't see them as their responsibility. 

One of the beautiful part of this program is that George and Betty have worked hard in their own community - through their own awe-inspiring self-sacrifice and service to the Honduran community they have won the respect and ear of leaders in the community.  As such they have been able to teach through action what it means to practice social responsibility.  They have built a board of local leaders.  Honduras is a tremendously poor country, second only to Haiti in the Western Hemisphere.  It is doubtful they will ever NOT need outside help.  However it is tremendous to hear the stories of how PNH has worked to solicit the support of the community and see how they have really changed the stance of the local community toward these children.

About Honduras

Honduras, a tropical Central American republic situated between Guatemala and El Salvador, to the west, and Nicaragua to the south and east. The Caribbean washes its northern coast and the Pacific its narrow coast to the south. With an area of 43,277 square miles (112,088 square kilometers) and a population of only 6.9 million Honduras is also one of the smallest countries in Latin America.

Inhabited since well before the Christian era, ruins in the west of Honduras indicate the area was the center of Mayan civilization before migrating to the Yucatan Peninsula. Now, only small, isolated groups of non-Spanish speaking Indians remain and the majority of the population is mestizo (a mixture of Spanish and Mesquitan Indian).

Honduras ’s main exports are coffee, bananas, palm oil, meat, zinc and shrimp. With a national economy heavily geared towards agricultural export ordinary Hondurans are highly vulnerable to the extreme fluctuations in the global commodity markets. Equally, any change in trade policy by superpowers such as the US has an enormous impact on the national economy. One tragic example is the plight of coffee growers in Honduras. Many of them are facing starvation because of a decision supported by the international community to encourage coffee production in Vietnam.

Honduras’s economic and social problems were compounded in 1998 when Hurricane Mitch struck. More than 5,000 people were killed and 70% of the country’s crops were destroyed. Damage was estimated at $3 billion dollars and economic and social development was set back decades. The poverty and unemployment has caused a dramatic rise in gang warfare throughout Honduras since Mitch struck. Police estimate that more than 33,000 gang members stalk the country.
 
Vulnerability to the rising tide of globalization and its resulting instability has left a society rife with inequality. Close to 85% of Hondurans live below the poverty line with malnutrition, poor housing and domestic violence rampant.

 
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