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Honduras is a land of wild beauty. It’s rich with abundant wildlife and spectacular scenery. It also faces extreme poverty. In fact, 63% of Hondurans live in poverty, threatened by violence and made ill by contaminated water. Compassion-assisted children experience these realities daily. But at the Compassion center, there is hope.
45YEARS SERVING HONDURAS
A group of children play together in their neighborhood.
A boy holds a letter from his sponsor.
A group of children play together with a toy bicycle.
Teenage girls perform as a part of the First Fruits Feast at their church.
A group of boys play soccer at their child development center.
Children share a nutritious meal at their child development center.
A smiling mother holds her baby.
Children sit in a classroom and read their Bibles together.
A boy spins a colorful umbrella behind his head.
When do children visit the Compassion center?
Issue: Honduras’ poverty and inequality lead to high rates of crime and violence. Many child development centers are located in neighborhoods marred by organized crime and gangs.
Response: Children who are actively involved in Compassion’s program are less susceptible to the lure of gang activity. In addition to regular programs, Compassion offers extracurricular activities like taekwondo training — a popular option that builds character and discipline.
Prayer Point: Pray for the safety of children and families who live in high-crime communities, and that they will rely on God to provide for and protect them.
Teenagers learn vocational skills to help protect them from the lure of gang activity.
Visit the Compassion blog to learn more about our work in Honduras.
Honduras is a great place to bird-watch. Over 700 species of birds have been recorded in Honduras — a bird-watcher’s dream!
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Official Name: Republic of Honduras
Form of Government: Presidential republic
Languages: Spanish, Amerindian dialects
Area: 43,278 square miles (112,090 square kilometers)
Mayan civilization flourished in Honduras in the centuries before Columbus arrived in 1502. Following independence from Spain in 1821 and from Mexico in 1822, Honduras joined the United Provinces of Central America. In 1839, the country declared its independence. Dictatorships and frequent revolution characterized the country through the rest of the 19th century and into the 20th.
During a stable period from 1955 to 1957, important social progress was made. Most notable were the passage of labor laws and the growth of labor unions. Ramón Villeda Morales, elected in 1957, also initiated programs for agriculture reform and education. He was followed by Colonel Osvaldo López Arellano in a 1963 coup. López held the reigns of government until he was ousted by the army in 1975 under the charge that government officials had accepted $250,000 in bribes.
Through the late 1970s and 1980s, the central problem for Honduras was political instability in neighboring countries. In 1993, Carlos Roberto Reina Idiaquez, a longtime human rights and political activist, was elected president with the promise to institute economic reforms and exert civilian control over the powerful Honduran army.
At the turn of the century, one of Honduras' major social problems was the involvement of youth in violent gangs. A law against illicit associations, such as gangs, was approved in 2003 and many have been put in jail since then. However, the country still faces challenges when atrocious acts are committed by gangs, and many citizens are still living in fear.
Source: The World Factbook, 2014.
Honduran culture is laid back; this attitude is more pronounced among the people living in coastal areas. The majority of Hondurans are passionate about soccer and politics. In general, Hondurans, like those in other Latin American countries, are close to extended family and many families live either in the same house or close to each other. There is a friendly and welcoming attitude toward international visitors.
Many writers, such as José Trinidad Reyes and José Cecilio del Valle, have emerged in Honduras; however, many people cannot afford books, so the market for authors is limited. Many authors publish their work in newspapers to gain access to the public.
López Rodezno is a Honduran painter who founded the National School of Arts and Crafts in Comayagüela, which maintains a permanent contemporary art exhibit featuring many murals by various artists. A traditional Amerindian theme, the "rain of fish" (a "tornado" that travels over the ocean, sucks up fish and then drops them over villages), frequently occurs in Honduran art.
Brightly colored handicrafts, such as model animals of clay or wood and jewelry, are everywhere in Honduras.
Honduran music has a folk style with a Spanish beat and uses guitars and marimbas. Honduran folk music is played during traditional Honduran celebrations. However, in general, Hondurans prefer music from Mexico or the United States, in different rhythms.
Spanish: ¿Qué ondas? (What's up?), ¡Nos vemos! (See you!), ¡Todo cheque! (Roughly translated, "It's all cool," when asked how things are going.), Bendiciones. (Literally means "Blessings," but is used as "God bless you"; a common greeting within the Christian circle used to either say "hi" or "goodbye.")
Sports & Games
Soccer is the main sport in Honduras. Baseball, volleyball and basketball are also popular. Children play a game similar to "jacks" using stones.
Rice, beans, tamales and corn are included in the basic diet, along with a soup of beef or chicken stock. Black coffee and soft drinks are popular.
The typical school year runs from February through November. Education is compulsory from ages 7 through 12.
In urban areas of the country, Hondurans are more aware than their rural neighbors of the importance of education. Although many parents desire education for their children, it is often more important for children to help provide for their families, especially in the country; and because of this, the dropout rate is higher. In addition, the education provided by the government is poor in most cases, from inadequate facilities to teachers going on strike. There is a sense of helplessness among parents who desire a good education for their children but can barely afford a public education.
There is no state religion in Honduras. However, the armed forces have an official Roman Catholic patron saint. The government consults with the Roman Catholic Church and occasionally appoints Catholic leaders to quasi-official commissions on key issues of mutual concern, such as anticorruption initiatives.
The government does not require religious groups to register but requires churches and organizations to register. Foreign missionaries must obtain entry and residence permits and a local institution or individual must sponsor a missionary's application for residency, which is submitted to the Ministry of Government and Justice. The ministry generally grants such permits.
There are both religious schools that provide professional training, such as seminaries, and church-operated schools that provide general education, such as parochial schools. They receive no special treatment from the government and do not face restrictions.
Source: International Religious Freedom Report, released in 2012 by the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor.
The Feast Day of the Virgin of Suyapa: Feb. 3 — Celebration in honor of the patron saint of Honduras .
Easter: March or April — a two-week celebration with festivals and parades. All schools and most businesses shut down from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday. Traditionally, the majority of the population travels to the beaches during this time.
Carnaval at La Ceiba: held during the third week of May.
Independence Day: Sept. 15
Columbus Day: Oct. 12
Christmas: Dec. 25 — Hondurans celebrate with their families on Christmas Eve and rest on Christmas Day. Hondurans set up a nativity scene where they cover the baby Jesus with a blanket. On Christmas Eve, the blanket is removed to unveil the baby.
Compassion has been working in Honduras since 1974. These Honduras facts and statistics provide a good picture of the reality of poverty and how child sponsorship through Compassion is making a difference.
Poverty is a problem in the country of Honduras but with your support, Compassion is working to change this. The Honduras facts tell a difficult story, but Compassion is bringing hope in the midst of the difficulties. Our programs are changing the statistics one child at a time.
Don't let the hopelessness of poverty overwhelm you. You can make a difference to a child in Honduras today!