Supporting Honduran Families Through Changes and Challenges
How NPH is committed to strengthen families.
Februar 27, 2019 - Honduras
Being denied a childhood is hard, especially for children in a country or family plagued by poverty. In many countries where NPH works, such as Honduras, the stresses and insecurities of poverty lead to many families having to leave their homes, their neighborhoods, or their communities, to travel to more suitable places in their country to live. Sometimes, these families have to leave their countries all together.
At NPH, we know the challenges these families face. Our social workers are intimately familiar with the world from which our children arrive, and our community programs are on the front lines of addressing the issues that destabilize families and interrupt children’s development.
NPH Honduras’ Head of Social Work, Nidia Rodas, shares more about how NPH addresses these instabilities and positively contributes to the development of children across Honduras.
Q: What is the situation in Honduras currently like?
A: We, [as Hondurans], are getting to a point where it's not possible to live anymore. We have some of the highest living costs in the region, with many people living on incredibly small daily salaries. Less people have access to formal employment, the cost of gas is rising, and political instability continues.
To see the social problems that affect Honduras, it's enough to go to many public areas of Tegucigalpa [Honduras' capital]. There you'll see crime, kids living on the street, and people consuming drugs.
Q: What are the factors that cause emigration in Honduras?
A: There are three causes big enough to make people leave: One, violence; two, insecurity; and three, unemployment.
Many people who leave commonly give the refrain, "I had to leave my country, because if I didn't, I'd have to join a gang."
Their parents don’t have the means to satisfy their rights to an education, health, or protection... so kids don't have an option but to join a gang.
Q: Who is most likely to be internally or externally displaced?
A: I don't believe that there is a home in Honduras from the lower and middle class that hasn't had someone move.
In 2017, Honduras' National Institute of Statistics (INE) reported that more than 30 percent of the migratory population was under 18 years old.
Right now, we see many mothers with their children who have gone. There were even some cases of mothers leaving with more than five kids, and pregnant women migrating who had their children while traveling. Everyone goes in search of a better life for themselves and their children.
Q: What are the risks involved with migration?
A: According to the study, the majority of the risks are health risks, discrimination, and insecurity. They, [migrants], are exposed to whatever.
The same insecurity that they are escaping, they find on the road, especially for women and children.
Q: How does emigration affect families, specifically children?
A: Well, principally through family disintegration and loss of communication. We have cases in which one or both parents decide to emigrate and have to leave their children with extended family. When children migrate themselves, it affects their physical and mental health, restricts their access to food and shelter, and forces them to abandon their studies.
Q: In light of these serious issues, what is NPH doing to help?
A: NPH has programs within the social work and community services departments. In social work, we provide educational scholarships to children in our communities, food and home products to families, and support children reintegrated with their families through the NPH OneFamily program.
Through our community services department, we also provide scholarships to kids in the community, in addition to tutoring services, daycare for single mothers, and food supplies given out in our soup kitchen.
Q: That's quite a task. Does NPH collaborate with any other organizations to make this happen?
A: We work with other organizations in childcare and keep up with new studies to have a better idea of what the situation is like. We work with schools, health centers, and community leaders, as well as national and international agencies such as DINAF [Honduras' child welfare agency] and the United Nations High Commission for Refugees.
Q: Would you say that these programs are effective in reducing familial instability?
A: In this aspect, we're doing well. But if we could insist on anything it would be to strengthen these programs, because families that have a place to live, food to eat, an income, and can send their kids to school will be stronger families for children to grow up in.