In Urban Honduras
Geography & Climate
- Honduras is situated between Guatemala and El Salvador to the west and Nicaragua to the south and east.
- The Caribbean Sea borders the northern coast and the Pacific Ocean the narrow coast to the south.
- More than three-fourths of the land area of Honduras is mountainous, lowlands being found only along the coasts and in the several interior river valleys.
- The climate is generally hot, with high humidity in the tropical coastal lowlands.
Honduras’ urban centers present a stark contrast between the lifestyles of the rich and the poor. Alongside beautiful, upscale homes and shopping centers are vast slums where thousands of people live in squalor.
About 52 percent of Hondurans live in cities.
Each family member is expected to do his or her part to help support the family, even the children. About half a million children in the country under age 15 are engaged in some kind of labor.
Children at Home
Many of Honduras’ impoverished urban residents live in cuarterías (rows) of connected rooms. Usually without windows, these makeshift rooms are generally constructed of wood, with dirt floors.
The average household has about seven persons, who all live in the same small room.
The narrow alleyways in the cuarterías typically serve as sewage and waste disposal areas, and households lack amenities such as electricity and running water.
Issues and Concerns
- Fathers frequently desert their families, leaving the care of children entirely to mothers who struggle to provide for them.
- Many urban children end up living on the streets, vulnerable to gang violence, drug addiction, exploitation and abuse.
- Living in cramped, squalid conditions, the urban poor suffer from high unemployment and income insecurity. One consequence of that strain is family instability.
Local Needs and Challenges
The temptations are great for children to drop out of school and join one of the many gangs that terrorize entire neighborhoods.
Malnutrition and poor sanitation
Many children also face chronic malnutrition and frequent illness from the lack of sanitation in the slums.
Low education levels
Only about one-third of children continue their education beyond primary school.
Schools and Education
- According to the Honduran constitution, education is free and, at the primary level, mandatory for all children. However, the country lacks a sufficient number of public schools.
- Most schools are poorly equipped and understaffed.
- In urban areas, 60 percent of youths are enrolled in grades seven through nine, yet only 38 percent make it to high school.
- Countrywide, only 8 percent of children continue to the university level.
Compassion Honduras works to ensure that every registered child is able to attend school, and it provides additional support, including tutoring, at the child development centers.
At the Compassion Child Development Center
Compassion serves children in Honduras’ urban regions through local, church-based child development centers. These centers are havens of love and learning for registered children.
Here, children receive nutritious meals, hygiene training and tutoring to attain standard academic milestones. They are also encouraged to develop their talents and abilities.
Most important, children learn about God’s love and the gift of salvation in Christ.
What Compassion Sponsorship Provides
In partnership with local churches, Compassion is bringing real help and hope to impoverished children in urban Honduras, providing:
- regular nutritious meals and snacks
- health checkups and medical care as needed
- the support needed to attend school
- training about personal hygiene such as how to brush their teeth and wash their hands
- literacy training for parents so they can obtain stable employment
- field trips, spiritual retreats, birthday celebrations, sports activities
- personal copies of God’s Word