International Women’s Day 2018: Expanding Opportunities for Women in Honduras
COCONUT CREEK, Fla. (March 5, 2018) When a destitute mother is forced to raise her children on her own, her extreme poverty becomes a story of daily survival.
Heidi is a 19-year-old single mother trying to raise her two young children in Honduras. Without any job skills, she is unable to earn enough money washing her neighbors’ clothes to feed her daughter and son and keep them safe.
On International Women’s Day, which is March 8, generous donors can be a blessing to Heidi and other poor women in Honduras by providing a new vocational center through Food For The Poor. Women will receive essential training and will be eligible for a job in a local textile factory.
Up to 200 women a year will be trained at the Ciudad Mujer Sewing Center/Trade School in Choloma, the first of three training centers planned in Honduras.
The center will be part of a larger complex where women can receive education, medical care and assistance in cases of violence and physical abuse. Here, women will devote two and a half months to learn basic sewing, how to operate machines and basic supervision in a factory setting.
The demand for factory workers in Honduras is very high. But many women lack the skills required.
Most young girls stop attending school when they are in sixth grade because they are expected to raise a family instead. Some men refuse to allow their wives to work.
Heidi, however, is eager to learn.
The majority of the poor in Honduras are single mothers. By gaining economic independence and a good paying job, Heidi could buy food and also purchase medicine to help her children when they are sick.
Whenever it rains, Heidi is frightened because venomous snakes, known as yellowbeards, slither out of the canal behind the rotten wooden shack she calls home to escape the rising water. She knows that one bite could kill her children, but she doesn’t have anywhere else to go. Mosquitoes also swarm the shack, biting her 4-month-old son and causing fevers and diarrhea. Heidi doesn’t have the money to buy the medicine he needs to heal.
“Right now, I’ve been asking God (for help) because my baby has been very sick with diarrhea,” Heidi said. “I ask God and start to cry because I worry.”
In addition to training and the promise of a steady job, Heidi and her children also will be moving into a new home, thanks to generous Food For The Poor donors.
Ciudad Mujer, which means Woman City in Spanish, is part of a larger government program to bolster the manufacturing industry and create more jobs.
Women comprise only 34 percent of the workforce in Honduras despite being more than 50 percent of the population.
“Women and girls are known to suffer disproportionately when they are poor,” said Food For The Poor Executive Director Angel Aloma. “One of the best ways to help the poor is to empower them to help themselves. To help break the cycle of poverty, Food For The Poor has developed long-term, sustainable solutions to improve the economic situations of poor communities. We provide the poor with reliable facilities and the training that will enable them to become self-supporting.”
To donate to the Ciudad Mujer project, please visit www.FoodForThePoor.com/iwd.
Food For The Poor, one of the largest international relief and development organizations in the nation, does much more than feed millions of the hungry poor primarily in 17 countries of the Caribbean and Latin America. This interdenominational Christian ministry provides emergency relief assistance, clean water, medicines, educational materials, homes, support for orphans and the aged, skills training and micro-enterprise development assistance. Over the last 10 years, fundraising and other administrative costs averaged less than 5% of our expenses; more than 95% of all donations, including donated goods, went directly to programs that help the poor. For more information, please visit www.FoodForThePoor.org.
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