In the spirit of non-for-profit’ism, HEDAC’s goal is to go all electronic in our communication allowing us to be more earth friendly, cost effective, more communicative and more engaging.
For our kids, reducing our paper costs will allow us to keep more kids in school. For our donors, today’s technology allows us to present smaller bytes of information more frequently and in a more engaging and interesting ways.
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The vocational / technical center project conceived and directed by Marcy Spector has been bogged down in a Honduran bureaucratic nightmare, seeming to almost die then getting resurrected – several times.
The current president of Honduras, in his earlier role as President of Congress, agreed verbally via phone with Marcy to provide funds for the purchase of land for a vocational/technical center. There was a rather long lag time for the funds to become available, excruciatingly slow for us.
Those funds needed to be paid to the municipality because by law the monies must be paid to a Honduran institution. The municipality under a written agreement committed those funds to a HEDAC sponsored vocational / technical center. After over a year, the funds were paid to the municipality for the purchase of land.
The wheels of bureaucracy turn very slowly in Honduras.
By law the municipality had to propose 3 optional properties and HEDAC and the municipality would choose among those three. There was a difference of opinion between HEDAC and the municipality as to which property was best suited for the center and in a rather contentious meeting at a municipal meeting with HEDAC, Marcy battled the powers and our property of preference was chosen and purchased. The title is currently held by the municipality but obligated to HEDAC for construction of a vocational center.
Before committing donor’s funds to building the center, HEDAC is insisting that the title for the property be in HEDAC’s name, at least temporarily. We say temporarily because it may make more sense to separate out the vocational / technical center as a separate entity (with a separate board) allowing each of us to focus on our specific areas. With that said, we are waiting for our NGO application to move through the bureaucracy so HEDAC can take title. Once we have title, then construction can begin.
In summary, our plans for a vocational / technical school are moving forward at a snail’s pace. While there is no guarantee of success there is optimism that we can break ground in 2015.
Over the past months as immigration reform has been in the forefront of the news, La Bestia (the name given to the “train of death”) has been in the forefront of the news. La Bestia has been perceived as the only viable solution for many Hondurans trying to flee Honduras either due to extreme poverty or trying to escape gang violence. Extreme poverty has always been an issue in this third world country. However, the extreme violence in Honduras is relatively recent as Honduras has become a drug corridor, a pass through for trafficking from other countries. The gang related violence associated with drug trafficking is causing more Honduran children to flee to avoid reprisals for not joining gangs. Hondurans, Guatemalans, and Mexicans risk travel through Mexico to the U. S. on La Bestia and the trip itself puts them at further risk from gangs extorting money for safe passage. Not paying can result in being thrown from the train or shot.
Because HEDAC operates outside of the high crime centers of Honduras we do not have direct knowledge of migrations due to violence from gangs. However our children are affected from the ripple affect. Due to the fact that San Pedro Sula has the unfortunate reputation of being the most dangerous city in Honduras (because of gang violence), it no longer is a viable alternative for many our children to seek employment or vocational training in San Pedro Sula. Flight is the only answer and more and more Hondurans find risking the trip as the only way to derive hope for a better future.
The answer to halting the flight is to provide hope and a vision of opportunity within the borders of Honduras. Ironically, it is a re-affirmation of the importance and urgency in HEDAC’s mission and we are as motivated to make a difference as ever as we move forward in 2015.