“When the Hondurans live in such extreme poverty, it keeps your self esteem low,” Michael Franklin, AHMEN-SIFAT Initiative Domestic Coordinator, said. “Part of the program is teaching the community that they can be the solution to their problems.”
Those solutions include creating water filtration systems made from local materials and find alternative types of heaters and heat sources that burn less wood and release less smoke into the homes.
“The program gets more difficult each year and builds on previous knowledge,” Franklin said.
The members in the third year of the program will focus on finding solutions for five areas that the participants identified as key areas of concern for their community. Those five areas are malaria prevention, HIV/AIDS treatment and prevention, smoke inhalation, domestic abuse and clean water availability.
In one of the areas served by AHMEN, one in every ten people has HIV or AIDS and malaria is a major killer in the area, due to the high mosquito population and lack of medical care.
The initiative intends to continue their existing educational program, but they are also looking at ways to expand and meet more needs in the communities they serve.
One major concern for the members of AHMEN was the fact that there were many women in one area who lived in the city’s trash dump, scavenging for food and materials to survive.
A part of the program will now focus on helping these women start a business, providing startup supplies for them to make and sell jewelry, in hopes that they can create an income source that will sustain them and their families and get them into a home. The micro-enterprise will focus on 30 women divided into five groups initially.
The program will provide the initial startup and will assist in the beginning with supplies and business tips. Eventually, the women will become more independent and the business will sustain itself.
“I almost feel we have to be more involved and more responsible,” Franklin said. “You’re promising the world to them, promising a business when they live in the city dump. We are trying to get them to a point where these ladies can make their own business decisions.”
In addition to that program, they have also helped with the founding of a school in Honduras for deaf students and others with physical or mental disabilities, led by a local woman who has two special-needs sons.
The biggest need for the programs currently is money. A small monthly donation is the ideal donation type for the programs organizers.
“I’d love for somebody to donate a million dollars, but small donations keep people involved,” Franklin said.
People can also get involved physically, by helping with fundraisers, attending planning meetings or providing support.
“I want people to understand that this is a program from Walker County, it was started in Walker County,” Franklin said.
For more information, visit www.honduranmissions.com or contact Franklin at (334) 467-5777.