A week or so ago, we celebrated Christmas with the lads and girl who are still part of the project. Funding has pretty much run out and the project is running on empty at the mo. The heart’s still in it and I haven’t given up looking for funds, so if you know any grants, funds or contacts, please put them in contact.
The staff are sad about the situation, and so are the young people. But as Menin said (the director of Casa Alianza, in his last couple of days there) to Ana in Casa Domingo today, that there is always someone willing to donate somewhere in the world, so please let us know if you can help.
I don’t know if I’ve included it in past updates, but I had an article published on the Honduras Weekly website about a month ago. However, it seems to have been taken off. The website seems to have been redesigned, so maybe it’s just that I can’t find it. Instead, I am going to include some information about Casa Domingo, in case you’re interested in donating:
INJOCA Association is a non-profit organization in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, that supports young people living on the streets, in conflict with the law or at social risk. INJOCA empowers the youths with skills and knowledge to enable them to live a positive independent life.
Honduras is labeled the most dangerous country in the world by the United Nations. Youths suffer human rights violations on a daily basis, are murdered unjustifiably, are sexually exploited, are forced to work with little pay or security and are neglected by society. Because of extreme poverty, social problems and political indifference, there are a lack of opportunities for youths (25% of young people do not work or study and 35% are unemployed), generating feelings of disillusionment and helplessness. Many do not have access to education and become illiterate. Many suffer domestic violence and sexual abuse at home and turn to the street. They take drugs to deal with their problems, become affiliated with gangs, commit crimes and are sometimes forced into prostitution in order to survive.
INJOCA Association offers an alternative to this, providing young people with fresh starts, work opportunities and the necessary resources to achieve their individual goals. The educators mentor the young people step-by-step through their development, listening and focusing on their needs, teaching them the values of education, responsible living and essential life-skills, assisting them with their behavior, drug problems and emotion issues, as they prepare for adulthood.
The chief project, Casa Domingo, is a safe home for 6 to 10 male youths between 16 and 30 years of age, which acts a temporary bridge-home as they prepare for independent living. These are some of the other services that Casa Domingo provides:
- One-to-one tuition on budgeting, punctuality, literacy, arithmetic, how to cook, hygiene, healthy living, and help with homework.
- Participation in artistic, sporting and leisure activities, theater, cultural visits, celebrate significant days of the year.
- Implementation of workshops on psychosocial skills (self-esteem, social skills, non-violent conflict resolution, interpersonal relationships and gender equality) and addiction prevention and sexuality as a key preventive strategy.
- Registration and enrolment in vocational training centers, formal and non-formal education (education alternative spaces and spaces of artistic, cultural, sports and leisure).
- Provision of work and school supplies and extracurricular activities to reinforce and support school/college activities.
- Individual and group guidance on aspects of personal presentation, hygiene and responsibility at work.
- Monthly workshops to develop job skills: developing CVs, job search, interview techniques, etc.
- Training workshops pre-employment and development of manufactured goods enabling them to earn additional income.
- Support in establishing a small business.
- Family reintegration and support program.
INJOCA is recognized by the Honduran government social services IHNFA and is part of COPRENDH; a professional network of 40 organizations that support children and young people in society.
Casa Domingo is a dynamic project that provides a hugely important role in the integration of youths in society. Although other projects help young people learn a trade and even secure a job, many youths still lack the life-skills, literacy and employability skills necessary to make a full transition to adulthood. No other organization has the skills, expertise and experience as INJOCA in supporting people living in the street, in conflict of the law and /or at social risk, to become independent and live successful lives.
We are dedicated and passionate about providing a high quality service to young people who are forgotten and abandoned by Honduran society. We believe that streets youths can change their lives around with correct and professional guidance and can contribute positively in society. We have been providing this service successfully for seven years and served over 250 young people.
Together, we are transforming young people’s lives and developing Honduras. Without the constant effort of the educators and youths, this change would not be possible.
I was in Casa Domingo today, which is kind of why I’m feeling inspired to write tonight. I was speaking to a lad called Angel today. I don’t know him too well, but he was telling me how his “mujer” (woman), as he put it, had a daughter about a month ago but he’s struggling to feed both without having a job: a very familiar story in Honduras. He also told me that he was learning English through Tracy Chapman songs. A kind of unique and forward-thinking way of picking up a language, but very admirable, I must say. Tracy Chapman has done an awful lot of human rights, especially for LGBT groups in the states. Angel said he liked Baby Can I Hold You Tonight?, which is a song that I also like. So, here, below, this is for Angel. And his “mujer”.