Families in Honduras found strength within community ties and organizations like Humanity and Hope, despite the impact of COVID-19 on poverty in Honduras. There have been 249,118 COVID-19 infections in Honduras since the start of the pandemic. In May 2021, Honduras reported the highest peak with an estimated 1,000 infections a day, according to the Reuters COVID-19 tracker.
Prior to the pandemic, 40% of the total population in Honduras did not have employment. COVID-19 affected 250,000 families into food security due to job loss, according to the World Food Programme (WFP).
Supporting the Community
Despite the impacts of COVID-19 on poverty in Honduras, family communities within Honduras assisted others by handing them food and toiletries during the hardest times of the pandemic. Organizations like Humanity and Hope also stepped up, serving the communities of La Coroza, La Cuchilla and Remolino to help them become sustainable on their own.
Humanity and Hope, a nonprofit organization located in El Progreso, Honduras, initiated team and volunteer trips after a year of lockdown. Caleb Mejia, director of trips and Honduran volunteers, said people from different parts of the world take these trips and encounter the hardships of communities.
“Humanity and Hope does not want people to come down to Honduras and dig a hole or paint a school, and that’s it,” said Mejia in an interview with The Borgen Project. “You can see something through television or through your phone, but it will never, ever be the same if you actually experience it.”
Humanity and Hope
Humanity and Hope operates on six different pillars: infrastructure, economy, community, health, education and leadership. According to Mejia, volunteer trips occur once a month with a focus on a pillar.
In July 2020, H&H’s annual health trip served nearly 1,010 people in a week. The annual health trip consisted of a team of 18 staff members, volunteers and assistance from the Honduran Red Cross and dentists.
“Along that week, we ended up doing triage, pharmacy, doctor consultations and hosted experience trips,” said Mejia.
When Hurricane Eta stepped in amidst a pandemic, Honduran communities suffered complete destruction. Despite the devastation and impacts of COVID-19 on poverty in Honduras, communities of Honduran family members, even those outside the U.S., came together to help others.
“I had the means and the people who were willing to help,” said Ashley Carrasco in an interview with The Borgen Project, a resident of California. “I helped because Honduras is my home, the love of my life.”
Ashley Carrasco and Franklin Castillo
In November 2020, Carrasco and her family fundraised an estimate of $4,000 for the communities of San Pedro Sula and Santa Barbara. Carrasco used the means of social media to fundraise on the Venmo app to provide to families affected by the pandemic and hurricane.
Carrasco and her family, located in the United States, shared their fundraiser with every possible follower. She transferred the collected funds to her cousin, Franklin Castillo, located in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, to purchase grains, diapers, baby formula, mattresses and toilet paper to distribute to the community.
“I witnessed many people losing their homes due to the hurricane and floods,” said Castillo in an interview with The Borgen Project. “The government’s response was slow like always. I have seen communities do more for each other than the government.”
Castillo raised a total of $9,000 with the help of family members in the U.S. He distributed the toiletries and food supplies estimated to last each family at least two weeks to nearly 300 families within communities that were impacted by COVID-19 and the hurricane.
Castillo continues to give a portion of his business earnings to the community. He said the pandemic is still affecting people as Honduras initiated vaccinations to the elderly, a small percentage of the population. According to Our World in Data, research university of Oxford, only 0.6% of the population has received two doses of the vaccine.
“I saw a positive change in the community,” said Castillo. “People who did not have much were trying to help others. My family and I were able to help, all thanks to God.”
– Diana Vasquez
Photo: Franklin Castillo