Santa Rosa de Copan, Honduras
Kaboom!! That's the sound of an oven blowing up about 5 minutes before the 5th graduation at the Moses Project. Fortunately for everybody involved, the walls are made of block and concrete and the only person in the kitchen at the moment was on the other side of a brick kitchen island. Also fortunately, most of the meal for the grad guests had just been shifted to the house mom's apartment.
The graduation ceremony itself actually went really well once the nerves settled down a bit. There were seven boys who battled through 3 years of 6:30am - 10:30pm and proudly stood in front of their parents, board members, sponsors and other project members past and present. This was an emotional event with each boy expressing their pride in accomplishment, their appreciation for the opportunity that was given to them by the sponsors and staff alike and sadness at their pending departure from their new friends. These are friendships that will last for a lifetime, forged through sweat, tears, joys and struggles over three years of intensive training to turn these young men into leaders that will impact their communities for the good. We expect these boys to improve the standards of living in their communities. We also trust these boys will demonstrate an uncommon respect for the women in their areas of influence.
The picture to the right is missing one boy who must have been showing his family around the residence immediately after the graduation ceremony.
We need your help to provide this opportunity to more future leaders.
What are the notable achievements of this year?
- Fifth graduating class with 7 members
- 29 boys started the year and 29 boys made it through the year
- Western Mines of Honduras sponsored the construction of a second chicken coop to separate the egg layers from the meat chickens.
- We made arrangements to provide agricultural production directly to the local girls orphanage on behalf of some of their sponsors who wanted to increase the nutrition levels at the orphanage in a "direct" manner.
What are the major transition plans for 2014?
Well, 2013 made us face facts that it is difficult to maintain a project like this without having staff on hand to provide proper communications and fundraising activities. We made some some difficult decisions in October and when Phil went to graduation in Santa Rosa at the end of that month, we communicated our vision with the staff and the boys in the project. Essentially, the focus of our future is as follows:
- Ayurin and Marvin (7 and 6 years with the project respectively) will take over the agricultural education and production side of the project. Both of these young men started off as 14 year old participants, studying under agro-industrial engineers for 3 years before graduating and deciding to stay on with us part time to help train other participants. This year, both young men were attending university to obtain Agricultural Technician titles.
- Daisy will continue to manage the house as "Den Mom".
- Raul will be working with us part time rather than full time.
- The participants will attend junior high / high school in either the morning or the afternoon (depending on their year and program of studies). The other half of their day will be woring on the farm with Ayurin and Marvin.
- The boys will only be able to take trades training on weekends as available from the trade school.
- The trades training was dropped, not because we don't value that component of their education, but because it triggerd more than 2/3 of the transportation budget - the second largest expense in the program.
- The boys will return to their standard form of transport to attend school -- walking -- rather than being driven everywhere because of the demanding schedule that we had put in place.
- We have requested (and it appears successful) the increased participation of the local Catholic Church to assist in the social management of the participants.
- In 2014, we will not be bringing in new first year students while we address this transition, but it appears that 20 out of the 22 boys that just completed their first and second years in the program will be returning.
While in Santa Rosa, Phil met with the manager of the Western Mines who committed to continuing their sponsorship of the project. In addition, a local volunteer from Spain has obtained a $4,200 Spanish grant for agricultural production and CEPUDO, who donated our sheep, has increased their participation to include some processed foods and project supplies.
So we are in a period of transition. Our commitment is to ensure that these young men receive the education we encouraged them to pursue. Several sponsors plan to return to Santa Rosa in March to further discussions with local parties to expand the utilization of the farm infrastructure for the training and development of those in the most need in that corner of Honduras.
Why is your support so essential? Each of the boys in this project carry their own story. Many have never had a bed before - especially one on which only THEY were expected to sleep. Many know what hunger really means. Most have experienced severe violence to some immediate family member if not to themselves. MOST IMPORTANTLY, most never thought life would change.
When these boys come to the Moses Project, they are putting themselves out there for rejection (not all applicants make it) and they certainly put themselves in for three tough years of training. Their lives become a disciplined experience from 6:30am to 10:30pm each weekday and then on Saturday mornings they're cleaning rooms and doing laundry while our children sleep in or watch cartoons.
And when they're done, they leave with confidence, self respect and a lot of abilities. They not only know if somebody is doing an electrical job incorrectly - they know how to fix it. They know carpentry. They know how to weld. They know how to raise chickens (in quantity), fish, sheep and rabbits and look after them when they're sick. They know how to make the most of a small piece of property and little water. They know how to look you in the eye and say "Yes, I can do that. Select me."
This past year we had 31 boys in the project including two graduates that continue to work with the students and it isn't cheap. They continue to grow more of their food each year, and by increasing sourches of revenue through fish, sheep, coffee & future timber, they are continuing to increase their contribution to cover the costs of their education.
What can you do to help? As always, this project survives and thrives on the support of extraordinary people like you. 3CM does not keep any of your donation to cover overheads in Canada. Here are some examples of how you can be a part of the solution in Honduras:
- Some give $25 per month, others are able to give much more, but we really need to increase our committed monthly support base. Consider joining our monthly auto-debit supporters to support these boys.
- Consider finding another person to join the monthly supporter list.
- Sponsor a sack of fish feed for $45
- Sponsor a set of bedding & towels for $50
- Sponsor an egg laying chicken for $75 (this buys the chicken & looks after it for one year)
- Sponsor a batch of 100 meat chickens from purchaser through processing for $350
- Sponsor 4 pigs for $800
We appreciate your prayers, and if you have any great ideas or are willing to share your blessings with these future leaders that are rising up in rural Honduras, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively, check out our Donate page to get involved. Also see the Donate page to find out how Alberta residents can get 50% of their donation back (or simply double up your donation...).