Programs - Community Youth Microenterprise
Nueva Esperanza Youth Council
Nueva Esperanza Youth Council
Nueva Esperanza is the largest village we work in, with over 600 community members. Like much of rural Honduras, this small town has innumerable economic challenges including unemployment and gang activity. Honduran gangs often prey on young children, knowing they are desperate to help feed their families. We chose this village as our pilot project for the Community Youth Microenterprise project because there were dozens of children eager for support to stay in school. Since the project started in 2017, the Nueva Esperanza youth council has made us extremely proud with their commitment and dedication.
Development of the Capital Seed
As part of the initiation of the project, the youth council was given a 2000 Lempira (around 80 USD) capital seed, to develop into a larger fund. The students elected themselves a board of directors, and began fundraising activities including selling homemade goods (tamales, horchata, pan de minimo, etc.) as well as hosting raffles for desirable goods such as microwaves and cell phones. Within 6 months, the Nueva Esperanza youth council had impressively multiplied their capital seed more than 5 times over, were able to pay back the original small loan, and continue to increase their profits to help fund scholarships and their microenterprise project.
Scholarships for Education
In partnership with SELF, funds from the school cafeteria, donors from the US and Canada, and their parents, youth council students use money generated from their fundraising activities and microenterprise project to help fund their own educations. Every school year a list of materials needed for each level of school is generated. Donors from North America then fill backpacks with many of the necessary materials, and SELF donates the rest. Over the last three years, SELF and its generous donors have provided students with more than 50 of these fully-stocked backpacks. In addition to providing school supplies, the top students who have shown the most commitment over the year are chosen for full-tuition scholarships. Since 2017, SELF and the youth council have partnered to provide 29 yearly scholarships, including 3 college students and a member of the police academy.
Cafeteria at Nuevo Paraíso High School
Due to its close proximity and high-quality level of education, many of the members of the Nueva Esperanza youth council are graduates, current or future attendees of Nuevo Paraíso High School. In partnership with school administration, parents and teachers, as of 2020, SELF has taken over administration of the school cafeteria. Funds generated from these efforts are used for SELF directed school repairs and provided to the youth council to help pay for their scholarships. Working with the Building Hope program, in exchange for repairs made to the school and management of the school cafeteria, SELF plans to construct an even larger, more suitable cafeteria for the students within the next 4 years.
Pollos de Vida
In many ways the culmination of the Nueva Esperanza youth council’s teamwork and cooperation, 2020 saw the final construction of their microenterprise project: Pollos de Vida (Chickens of Life). This project, funded in large part by a generous US donor and SELF volunteer Henry Tran, Pollos de Vida is a chicken coop on the campus of Big Dreamer’s School. Youth council members have spent more than 2 years working on market research studies, presentations, financial education and fundraising to make this project a reality. Our first round of bringing Pollos de Vida to market was accomplished in May of 2020. Despite a pause on the chicken coop project for safety reasons, due to the global Coronavirus pandemic, the Nueva Esperanza youth council will reinstate these activities in the coming months and years, as soon as they are safe to resume.
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