Opportunity Through Education
The remoteness of the Agalta Valley, unfolding deep in the mountains of east-central Honduras, has resulted in it being largely overlooked by the progress of the last century.
Its 50,000 inhabitants face lives of overwhelming poverty, a lack of schools and access to clean water and health care. The government provides free education through the sixth grade in one-room schools, but the families of the Agalta Valley face hurdles in receiving even this basic level of support.
The region’s traditional one-room schools are comparable to those of rural America in the 1800s, and in many cases no teachers can be found to teach in these remote areas. Even if a child makes it through a basic, elementary-school program, sending that child to middle school or high school costs approximately $600 a year – more than the average family makes annually.
Fortunately, change is occurring in the valley.
Valley residents and volunteers from the United States have built new schools which are operated by an organization called Honduras Outreach Inc. (HOI). Unlike the region’s traditional schools, the HOI facilities have full-time teachers, curriculum and classrooms for every grade and run on regular schedules – and HAVE’s main purpose is to raise money for these schools. In addition to more than 40 area kindergartens and one- room schools, HAVE works to support Hope Schools- kindergarten, elementary, middle and future high school that educates hundreds of Agalta Valley children every year.
Though Hope Schools are centrally-located along the main highway through the Valley, children from remote villages are willing to travel huge distances daily, often leaving home in the dark, walking, taking buses or riding horseback to reach the clean, safe and dependable schools now available to them. Experience the daily journey of a child traveling to Hope Schools in the Agalta Valley.
The student admission policy is simple:
- Students must be from the valley
- They must want to learn
- Their parents must be supportive of their education
- They must be willing to follow the Rules of Conduct
Any student agreeing to these tenets may attend the Hope Schools free of charge. These schools provide opportunities to hundreds of students who previously had no access to quality education. Community support is measurable, with Parent Teacher Association (PTA) participation as high as 90 percent.
HAVE also supports adult education and vocational education where initiatives show promise. Such efforts have included agricultural education, animal husbandry and adult literacy in addition to sewing and other marketable skills.