Too many Honduran children live on the streets because their families cannot provide for them. Their homes – often made of cardboard and tin pieced together – offer no space or running water, and little hope of a better future.
Begging and stealing become the only way these children see to survive.
Homes in Honduras
Usually it is just one room, sometimes with a wood burning stove in the middle
which of course, adds smoke and pollution to the room. There may be a latrine outside but not necessarily close by. The latrine may be shared by several families. There may be only one bed with other family members sleeping on the floor. There is little, if any, furniture. Despite the many children who may be living there, one rarely sees any toys or books. Some homes do have electricity in the form of bare bulbs and exposed wires hanging overhead often covered with duct tape.
But beyond the physical description of a house many other things can be observed.
For the majority of the families, poor does not mean dirty. The women make an incredible effort to keep the small spaces tidy despite lack of water, constant dust, and smoke. The family’s few possessions are usually neatly stacked off to the side in a corner and covered with a faded blanket or towel. Almost all families display family photos and certificates of achievement from school or church activities. Mothers proudly describe the importance of each photo or certificate. The children usually are curious, friendly and polite to visitors.
In these homes of desperate poverty, one can sense the more hidden qualities of humility, resourcefulness, hopefulness, love and a deeply rooted faith.
In this desperate environment, street gangs seek out these vulnerable children. Gangs increasingly provide an alluring alternative to hunger and fear. They promise a sense of belonging, increased economic prosperity, purpose, and empowerment. They actively recruit new members, often enlisting young children to run drugs or steal, or force them into prostitution or other crimes to prove their loyalty.
By the time they become teenagers, they find themselves so deeply involved that it’s almost impossible to find a way out. Gang members’ lives tend to be sordid, brutal, and short.
El Hogar breaks this cycle of poverty and violence. The children of El Hogar have an opportunity to transform their lives.