Honduras: Creating Hope in Honduras
|Over 70% of Hondurans live below the poverty line, which makes Honduras the second poorest country in Central America. Of this population, women are among the most vulnerable groups. They are challenged daily by food insecurity and health problems, primarily due to low household income. Adelante has a twenty year history of success providing small business loans and education, changing the path of Honduran women and their families for generations to come.|
Honduras is a country marked by extreme poverty. In the poorest regions where WE support is concentrated, half the population lives on less than $1.25 per day. The childhood malnutrition rate tops 60 percent and the illiteracy rate is 40 percent – both nearly double national averages. In the mountainous southwest, far from the economic centers of San Pedro Sula and Tegucigalpa, work opportunities include subsistence farming, logging and livestock, as well as working as laborers in the potato and coffee fields. Most people live in villages and smaller settlements composed of only a few families. Public services are almost nonexistent, with no easy access to clean water, and no sewer or other sanitation facilities.
In partnership with Adelante Foundation since 2007, Women’s Empowerment proudly funded 2,100 women in the early stages of our partnership in the Choluteca and Intibucá regions of Honduras and today supports women throughout the country. Loans as small as $50 to extremely poor women in rural areas are sufficient to provide seed capital for small businesses that often fulfill village needs. Educational programs and workshops are also offered to women borrowers who have a 94.4% repayment rate for their loans.
The group approach has proven particularly effective. Solidarity groups consist of three to eight women who guarantee one another’s loans. Each woman takes out her own loan to invest in her own business, but the entire group is responsible for repaying all loans. Mutual support and group dynamics deter late repayment and default.
Our women have started and expanded businesses including small neighborhood stores (pulperías), tortilla making, greenhouses for flowers, bike repair shops and more. Borrowers use their profits to send their children to elementary and secondary school and even college. Business profits are also used to improve homes with sturdier materials and provide better nutrition and health care for their families.