Poverty is one of the greatest barriers to a decent quality of life in Honduras. According to some surveys, nearly 65 percent of the country’s population is impoverished, and 40 percent live on $1 per day or less. For women in Honduras, poverty can be particularly challenging. That is why Project HOPE has had a Village Health Bank program in Honduras since 1993. The current five-year program, started in 2009, has improved the quality of life of more than 63,000 women and 56,000 children through a combined microcredit and health awareness program. Through the program, women are offered access to financial capital and personal savings mechanisms. At the same time and through the same program, the women are offered access to important health information.
For example, Kelin is a member of the communal bank "Nuevo Renacer" that Project HOPE funds in the Central District. She is a 24-year-old, single mother of two young children. Less than a year ago, Kelin did washing and ironing for income and to support her family. Now, thanks to participating in the Village Health Bank Program, Kelin has started a grocery business and has also absorbed the trainings promoted by Project HOPE in trades such as jewelry and processing of products, skills that have helped to diversify her grocery business and to produce a greater income. Today, she says that her life has changed, and she can now support her family with more ease and comfort. Through the program, Kelin has also been exposed to important health information.
The program also organizes health fairs bringing together program participants and health providers to offer opportunities for testing and referrals to health centers for treatment and follow-up as needed.
As part of this program, a march against breast cancer was held recently in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. More than 200 members of Project HOPE’s village health banks and their family members, seven Project HOPE employees, a group of students from a local nurse training center and 30 students from a local school’s integrated dance team and marching band participated in the “Rose Parade 2013.” Organized by the Honduran Foundation against Breast Cancer (FUNHOCAM), the walk was led by a colorfully decorated float bearing a message about the importance of breast cancer awareness. Other members of Project HOPE’s marching group carried banners with prevention and testing messages as well. Project HOPE has participated in this annual day for breast cancer awareness since 2011.
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