This month Sister Liliana and Sister Marie from Amarateca Boystown, Honduras, spent time with us giving an update on how the boys are doing at school. They talked at length on the challenges faced by the poorest children in the local communities and their desperate need for help. They provided an insight on the difficulties faced by these children as they are welcomed into school missing nearly 2 years’ education over the pandemic, and how, with your support, they are able to protect these poor children and allow them to recover, grow and learn.
Included in our meeting this time were two of the boys at the school.
Marvin, aged 12 years old, (on the left in the photo) is in his first year and has been with the Sisters now for 8 months, and Dennis (aged 17) is in his final year, and will be graduating at the end of the year.
The boys shared their news with us and updates on their progress at school and hopes for the future.
They were thrilled to share their news about the birthday celebration on 15th August, and how much it meant to them that our supporters cared enough to make this possible. Marvin was particularly keen on the gifts and the cake! For Dennis the celebration was particularly poignant as it was his last celebration before leaving school.
The boys are loving their time at school. Marvin enjoys his art classes and told us how he wants to become a lawyer one day. Dennis hopes to train to be a chef, but there are no colleges for this in Honduras and the places that he can apply to are expensive, so he has plans to work first and study as a chef later.
The boys also mentioned that they had enjoyed the family visiting day in May, the first in person occasion since the pandemic. 3,000 people came to the school to visit their children. Families came and brought a picnic lunch and the boys were able to spend valuable time with their parents, grandparents, siblings, guardians and pets!
Amarateca welcomed 205 new boys in January 2023 for their first year of secondary school (Marvin was amongst this group). The Sisters reported that the level of ability for the boys entering the school was very low. The boys are behind in Maths and Spanish especially because of the closure of Honduran state schools during the pandemic. The older students are now helping the younger boys to catch up with their maths and particularly to improve in Spanish which is essential for their future employment.
The Sisters reported to us that in their 2023 community outreach work throughout Honduras they have found many families struggling. Most rely on agricultural work to survive, cultivating coffee, corn, or vegetables. The crop yields in recent years have been low because of adverse weather and so there is less food to eat and to sell to earn an income. As a result, many children suffer malnutrition leading to developmental delays and stunting.
When the boys arrive at the school they are very small for their age and need thorough medical checks by the doctors who express concern at their low weight. In the care of the Sisters, the boys are treated with deworming medication and receive daily vitamins alongside three balanced meals a day to address their poor physical health and help them recover.
With the vocational skills they learn at school the graduates are able to find good local work. Honduras has a large car manufacturing industry for which skilled workers are always in demand. The boys learn auto mechanics, car maintenance, welding and other practical skills at school specifically to prepare them for work in these companies.
Amarateca is a relatively young programme, it started in 2017 and so there have only been two graduating classes so far. The Sisters maintain relationships with local companies like Toyota to help our children secure on the job work experience and then employment for their graduates after they finish school. The specialist skills the boys receive at school make them highly employable and the jobs they are qualified for in welding and auto mechanics pay well allowing them to help their families.
The Sisters reported to us on their expenditure at the school, cost management and financial priorities. Food is one of the biggest costs, alongside teachers’ salaries.
To help alleviate the cost of food, the Sisters bake their own bread and there is now a small plot of land at the school which has been dedicated to growing food for the programme. The boys help grow vegetables, corn, pineapples, mangoes, and passionfruit (maracúya). They are making juice from the passionfruit which the boys are really enjoying and which also aids their health.
Alongside the need for funding for food and educational costs, the Sisters are hoping to create additional space for the boys to play outside the classrooms. This is an important part of their overall health and development.
With your help we are working to provide the Sisters with the additional funding needed for food and these extra development needs of the children. You can help us keep these children safe by donating here or by sharing their story with those you think might be interested in helping support education for the poorest boys in Honduras.