IMG_3454.JPGMike Balahura to present at the September 19th Deer Park Rotary Club weekly meeting. 

HELP Honduras Society - It’s Story and Successes

HELP Honduras, is a project administered by Rotarians to provide support, opportunities and hope to some of the poorest families in Honduras. They are families, usually headed by single mothers, who work in the public markets or scrounge in the municipal dumps to eke out an existence.

At a recent Rotary District 5080 Foundation Training Day meeting, several members of the Deer Park Rotary Club learned about H.E.L.P. Honduras and asked our Board of Directors to discuss possible financial participation in this project. The board responded by asking Mike Balahara to present information about this program to our club.

The HELP Honduras Society of Rotary works to improve education, health, and economic opportunity, enabling the families to live more productive lives and improve the life chances of their children. We do this by enabling children to attend school, improving school facilities, building classrooms, and improving family stability by training mothers in marketable skills and business concepts which helps them to become more successful business people.

Honduras is the second poorest country in the Americas with 45% of the population living on less than $2.50/day. The rate of poverty in Honduras is among the highest in the Americas, a circumstance made worse by income inequality. Honduras is also one of the most violent countries, home to many drug gangs. Honduras suffers from widespread illiteracy and while public education is free, the poor cannot afford the supplies required by public schools in order for their children to attend.

H.E.L.P. Honduras is the avenue through which Rotarians and other individuals sponsor children, allowing them to attend school. The children receive the school supplies and uniforms needed to attend school and are monitored, and mentored by local staff and their peers. Schooling provides them an alternative and an opportunity to live a different life than what they have grown up knowing and experiencing.

The program is successful because the scholarships are not just a handout or a one-off. Parents must attend weekly meetings which cover topics such as parenting, literacy, health and education. They must bring their child’s report cards to the offices at reporting periods. They must commit to supporting their child in everything relating to the education and training of their child. The children must attend school, and take part in health education workshops. Youths must take part in the youth club program and senior students must join the Leadership and Values project or provide their service as a tutor in the markets or communities where they live.

There's a lot of work to do in Honduras. We believe that the support and education they are providing will help to bring some stability to this area and give the families with whom we work hope and greater opportunities for prosperity.

His presentation will outline the background and relationship between HELP Honduras and Rotary, detail how this relationship benefits the families of some of the poorest in Honduras, provide an overview of our Global Grant and report on some of the successes of the program.

Contact information:
HELP Honduras website is helphonduras.ca
Michael Balahura email is helphondurasmike@gmail.com

Michael Balahara, charter member of the Castlegar 2000 Sunrise Rotary Club was born and raised in the Kootenays. He is a Paul Harris Fellow and has served as Youth Exchange Officer, treasurer and president of his club. He is currently the President of the HELP Honduras Society. Mike is married to Brenda, who is also a Rotarian and chair of the District 5080 Fellowship Exchange Committee. Mike and Brenda have two children and a two-year old granddaughter. Mike has a Masters’ Degree in Special Education Administration from the University of Toronto and worked for 36 years in British Columbia as a teacher and school administrator. He was also employed by the University of British Columbia as an instructor and supervisor in their Teacher Education Program. He appreciates and enjoys living in such a beautiful part of the world and tries to camp and fly fish whenever he gets the opportunity.

Deer Park Rotary typically has several speakers each month and welcomes non-member visitors to their weekly meetings. Lunch with beverage is provided by First Street Grill during the meeting at $13.00 per person from two lunch choices. Deer Park Rotary meets weekly at noon, on Thursdays, at the First Street Bar and Grill banquet room, 122 W 1st St., Deer Park, WA.

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