By Susie Ma
Rotary News -- 2 January 2013
Rotarians from seven clubs in the
Honduran capital of Tegucigalpa joined together to fund two outreach centers
for young people in some of the poorest neighborhoods in the city.
The centers are thriving because of startup funding from
Rotary clubs and additional support from Regional Youth Alliance, a project of
USAID, and the nonprofit Save the Children.
They opened in 2009 in Buenas Nuevas and Villafranca, which
have a combined population of 22,000. Rotarians chose these locations because
they are some of the poorest areas in the city.
"These two neighborhoods are high-risk, where gangs and drug
organizations work," says Rotarian Guillermo Enrique Valle, who coordinated the
project for the Rotary clubs of Tegucigalpa and the Rotary Action Group for
Population Growth and Sustainable Development. "For young people, instead of
going to school or learning vocational training, they are recruited into gangs
and drugs -- it's a vicious cycle which is hard to leave."
Save the Children operates the centers, which are open to
children and young adults ages 10 to 29. They aim to prevent violence and
provide a safe atmosphere for youth to do their homework, play sports, and
learn a skill. Tutoring and vocational training range from carpentry to
electrical services to computer maintenance.
"A lot of them are already out of school; they have been
left behind," says Valle, past president of the Rotary Club of Tegucigalpa.
"The idea is to help them out with jobs before they become delinquents and give
them a possibility of a future."
Rotarians chose Save the Children to run the centers, which
have been so successful that Save the Children has opened two additional
centers on its own.
Valle says Honduran Rotarians plan to support more centers.
"The idea is to have one per club, and we have 29 clubs in Honduras," he says.
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