Notes from Honduras – July ’22July 30, 2022
The Value of Partnerships
by Erika Skafel
Two years ago, the pandemic forced us to change plans from an in-person fundraiser in Denver, Colorado, to a virtual event that El Hogar community members could attend from all across North America and Honduras. That’s how Esperanza: A Celebration of Hope was born.
In 2020, we prepared an hour-long event using video clips we already had. For the second iteration of Esperanza in 2021, we needed to develop new content. An El Hogar graduate who works at a national radio station out of Tegucigalpa connected us to Sin Fronteras Estudios, a Honduran production company that has produced a wide variety of content including full-length feature films. With their expertise and professionalism, we produced four video interviews and weaved them into a story about transformation. This year we’ve partnered with Sin Fronteras Estudios again to create content for a third instalment of Esperanza, this time ‘Hope in Honduras’ with stories that will dig a little deeper into the transformative power of El Hogar.
Storytelling with visual content is just one of the areas where we have fostered a local partnership. Visitors to El Hogar will remember going to the Villa Olímpica where our students receive instruction in sports like TaeKwonDo, table tennis and soccer with subsidized costs. The local health unit facilitated the distribution of Covid-19 vaccines for all of our staff and students and collaborates with our internal health team to provide ongoing support in nutrition education and health prevention strategies. Our high school girls attend Ciudad Mujer, a local women’s center, to receive weekly classes about reproductive and women’s health. Our teachers and caregivers regularly attend specialized training with local experts in order to optimize the way we teach and care for our students. The directors of each center work with a network of leaders from other similar organizations in the country to develop robust policies and promote the rights and wellbeing of children and their families who live in vulnerable conditions in Honduras.
Partnering with local entities gives rise to economic benefits for the Honduran community. There is data that shows that local companies return over 50% of their revenue into the local economy. In a conversation with Claudia Castro, director of El Hogar de Amor y Esperanza, she passionately articulated that there are plenty of professionals here in Honduras, but what they need are the opportunities to work. By partnering with local organizations, we are helping to provide those opportunities.
The value of local partnership is more than supporting the local economy. Partnering with organizations that specialize in different areas allows us to focus on our mission and developing our expertise while providing as many opportunities to our students as possible. Working with local organizations creates more visibility of our work in the Honduran community. Education and activism that is appropriate for our context leads to long-term sustainable change in the country.
Partnership also has a direct impact on our students. Having our students be guided by, cared for and inspired by Honduran professionals is sending them a message without words. This is what they can be in the future. Our students are learning about their opportunities and seeing what is actually possible for them: a camera operator for a production company, a public health official, a legal representative for children, an advocate for women’s rights. There is no way to quantify how valuable that is for our students. For all these reasons we continue to forge ahead with our work while prioritizing partnerships at all levels of El Hogar.
Thank you for your continued support of El Hogar!