Teenagers Luis and Jorge live in an area of the Honduran capital Tegucigalpa called Flor del Campo or ‘field of flowers’.
The fragrant name is a big misnomer. Flor del Campo is a slum and one of the most violent neighbourhoods in the city.
In fact, the country as a whole has one of the highest per capita murder rates in the world - 80 per 100,000. More than 9,500 people have been killed there up to the end of 2013.
Gang culture proves an often irresistible but dangerous draw to many young people but Luis and Jorge are pursuing a different path with help from Tearfund.
Our partner Allianza runs a programme called Valores (values) which provides a Christ-inspired alternative to the prevailing culture of violence.
Luis, 15 and Jorge, 12, have enrolled in a sports club run by Allianza which provides a safe environment for youngsters to come together and play football.
These activities greatly help my nephews and other children to stay off the streets, have protection from violence and drugsMartha, aunt of two boys benefiting from Tearfund project
The lure of having their own team kit and using good balls – ‘like the ones we see on TV’ – is proving attractive as the brothers turn out for weekly training sessions. They are also learning about not getting into fights, controlling tempers and about respecting others.
The bonds between their team, called The Lions, are strong and family-like and much appreciated for their positive impact by both the teenagers and their families.
Luis and Jorge’s aunt Martha said, 'I’m so happy to support my nephews in these activities. Apart from the fact that I love football, these activities greatly help my nephews and other children to stay off the streets, have protection from violence and drugs, and not to get involved with gangs.'
‘They encourage me a lot, these experiences, because they give hope to our children and youth.’
A little history ...
Tearfund’s work in Honduras started in the 1970s in response to hurricanes and the flight of refugees from neighbouring civil wars. In the late 1980s, Tearfund began community development work in remote and marginalised regions.
Here’s a selection of our work:
Red Viva Honduras trains churches to work with children with disabilities and raises awareness of child abuse, trafficking and how to prevent it.
Initially bringing aid to refugees, CASM (Comisión de Acción Social Menonita) now strengthens marginalised communities in areas such as land rights, access to food and gender equality. Tearfund supports its land advocacy and HIV prevention work.
In La Mosquitia, Mopawi equips local churches, governments and grass-roots organisations to speak up for indigenous land rights and for forest resources to be used wisely. A million-plus hectares of rainforest has been saved from industrial exploitation thanks to Mopawi campaigns.
Committed to protecting vulnerable forest ecosystems, Proyecto Aldea Global (Global Village Project) promotes ecotourism in the Panacam national park and empowers farmers with skills and knowledge to end reliance on traditional ‘slash and burn’ techniques.
La Asociación Misionera Garífuna (Amiga) supports communities of Garifuna (a people group of African descent) along Honduras’s Caribbean coast. In addition to its HIV prevention work, the partner trains leaders and pastors and runs nutrition and health projects.