Why Honduras?

There are several reasons HHOP has focused on Honduras the last couple of years. As a Rotary organization, working with established Rotaries in foreign countries is one of the criteria for initiating projects. The Usula Rotary Club in San Pedro Sula has worked with HHOP for many years and the relationship between this club and West Michigan clubs is very strong. W. MI Rotary Clubs also have a strong relationship with the Santa Rosa de Copan Rotary Club and several medical and water projects have been conducted in that area. HHOP has found the Honduran Rotary Clubs to be very committed to improving the lives of people living in poverty outside their cities.

The country of Honduras has a close relationship with the US. We have American military on Honduran bases. Many American companies have manufacturing facilities in Honduras (much of Champion clothing is made in Honduras). This makes Honduras a welcoming place for Americans to come visit and work.

In the mountainous areas in Honduras, poverty is at 63% and 50% of those people live in extreme poverty. Access to basic human needs such as adequate housing, clean water, basic health care, and food supplies are scarce. There is work to be done for many years and HHOP is not alone working here. Many NGOs and church organizations have found Honduras receptive to their help.

 

About Honduras

Honduras is a mountainous country in Central America with access to both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. It shares borders with Guatemala, El Salvador, and Nicaragua.

Honduras is 43,433 square miles compared to Michigan, which is 96,716 square miles.

The population of Honduras is 8.5 million and about half the people live in urban centers and half live in rural settings. 60% of the entire population lives in poverty which 35% live in extreme poverty. In the rural areas, including the mountain villages where HHOP works, 63% are poor and 50% are extremely poor.

The United Nations Low-Income Food-Deficit Country (LIFDC) 2014 listing for all the Americas, only lists Haiti, Honduras, and Nicaragua. Honduras is the second poorest country in Central America.

mom-and-baby-hondurasThe birthrate is 23.66/1000 and the infant mortality rate (children less than 1 year old) is 18.22/1000. This compares to the US infant mortality rate of 6.17/1000, which is not as good as Monaco’s at 1.8/1000. The mortality rate among the rural mountain communities has been as high as 65% for children under the age of 5

The people of Honduras are mostly Spanish decent. There are 9 recognized indigenous and African American minority groups but they comprise only 6.5% of the population. Columbus explored Honduras in 1502 and the Spaniards controlled the country until 1821. Honduras became an independent country in 1838, one year later than Michigan became a state.

Honduras has a long history of strife and government instability. In 1969 El Salvador invaded Honduras and 5000 people died. On January 27, 2014. Juan Orlando Hernandez took office as president and there is cautious optimism that the country will prosper under his leadership.

In the mountains, coffee has become the major cash crop. Coffee bushes are planted on steep hill sides and must be hand picked. Bananas, citrus, beef, timber, and shrimp are the other major exports. Textiles and clothing are the main industries in the country. 28% of the country is in agriculture, employing 39% of the population. The GDP per capita is about US$2500/year.

 

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