Testing the Waters with Nava

Nava (left) collects water sample

By Mariela Rodriguez – Communications Coordinator

This spring we had the privilege of welcoming back third-time volunteer, Nava Barman. When he first arrived in 2017, Nava shares how our mountainous region was reminiscent of “my family’s hometown in Northeast India,”- which is one of the reasons he has enjoyed returning. Now as a medical student pursuing his Masters in Public Health at Harvard he reached out to Shoulder to Shoulder to do his practicum.When Nava met with our Hens Hatching Hope staff they asked him whether our region’s drinking water could be causing children to continue contracting diahrrea. To prepare answering this broad question, Nava consulted with two field experts. This allowed him to strategize a needs assessment in Santa Lucia and Colomoncagua which included 2 main activities: testing multiple water sources for E.coli and interviewing key members to understand how water is treated and consumed by children under 5 years old.

Nava met with the local ‘juntas de agua‘ – community water committees who volunteer to do anything from keeping the water pipes clean to distributing water. They were happy to hike up the mountain with Nava to collect water samples for testing, amounting to 20 samples, from 8 communities.

After Nava conducted a portable water test, he had to grapple with delivering difficult news. Over 90% of his samples came back positive for E.coli shedding some light on what kind of water our children are drinking at home and at school. While there is no easy solution to many complex public health problems, projects like Nava’s help to create data and bring evidence to pre-existing suspicions that are present in our communities. In this case, what is contributing to our children’s frequent diahrrea bouts.

Thank you to Nava who chose to return to our region to conduct his practicum. We wish him the best as he continues his studies and we hope to see him back in Honduras once more.

To read Nava Barman’s full blog entry on Harvard’s website, click on the link below


Nava Barman's Intibuca Frontera Community Water Schema

Volunteering “Across the Pond” in Honduras

By Mariela Rodriguez – Communications Coordinator

Jake, Oli, Minsis (StS Asst. Director) and Jasmine

Jake, Oli, Minsis (StS Asst. Director) and Jasmine

Another school year in Honduras is well underway, and we are excited for a new partnership with Project Trust!  As an organization, they connect gap-year students  (high school graduates, taking a year off before university) from the United Kingdom with partners abroad. Project Trust’s Honduras representative, Jake Compaan, who also serves as director for the ‘Vida Abundante’ bilingual school in Yamaranguila, connected us with two young women from “across the pond” who have now travelled all the way to our bilingual school in Camasca.Oli and Jasmine, will be spending half a year with us and they have already hit the ground running, by hosting an English enrichment program with our bilingual junior/senior high school students during their first month. And now that school is in session, they are happy accompanying our elementary school bilingual school students in their daily routines.

Their help will be invaluable as ANY volunteer at our school always provides an opportunity for our children to practice their pronunciation and vocabulary. We are excited to see what other projects they get involved in while they are down in Camasca and wish them a wonderful learning expereince that they can share with peers in the future.

Welcome Oli and Jasmine, we are happy and excited to have you in Camasca!


Interns from the Leadership Center

By Katherine, Dania, and Eva – Leadership Center Interns

Katherine, Dania, and Eva

Katherine, Dania, and Eva

Hello, we are Katherine, Dania and Eva. We graduated from The Leadership Center as bilingual in Leadership and Community Development. In our time there we learned that community development is about people, not projects. By thinking in a different way, we know we can help in our communities.When we learned about Shoulder to Shoulder’s mission and vision, we believed that by doing our internship with the organization we would receive new experiences and develop our knowledge on how to be a teacher and work with children.

Throughout the pandemic, the experience of teaching has been difficult and we have faced some challenges. Still, we consider and see that our classes have been active, regardless if they are virtual or in a classroom. The desire of the students and parents to learn, showed us that everything is possible in these difficult times, no matter the sacrifice.  The support that each parent is giving to their children to be successful is one thing that surprised us because students’ education did not stop.

What we wanted was to give our students the opportunity to learn from us through encouragement, by listening to them, making them feel welcome and feel important to us. Also, by sharing our experiences that can help them in the future. Even though times are not easy, we have been motivating them to not give up!

We are thankful with God for the time we had to do our internship with Shoulder to Shoulder, for the opportunity they gave us to share and learn from them. To the teachers for supporting us. To the students for the beautiful times that we shared together, and to the parents for supporting their children. We advise future interns to do things with passion, love, encouragement and to believe in the organization. To put themselves in a child’s mind and enjoy the time while they are doing their internship.  We believe Shoulder to Shoulder is a great organization to work with, providing opportunities to develop our communities and help the education.