November 24, 2014
Shoulder to Shoulder is pleased and proud to introduce the Good Shepherd Bilingual School Sponsorship Program to advance our mission in the frontier region of Intibucá, Honduras.
The river story, often attributed to the social reformer Saul Alinsky, recounts a scene along the banks of a fast moving river. People are drowning and others are jumping into the river to save them. One individual leaves the scene to move upstream. He is initially scolded for abandoning the vital task of saving lives. But, he is actually searching out the source of the problem to learn why and how people are falling into the river in the first place, in order to resolve the issue.
Education in Honduras is certainly an upriver issue. Children are only legally required to go to school through the sixth grade. Public education is free in Honduras. But when you factor in costs of transportation, books and materials, uniforms, and so on, families that can barely feed themselves are greatly burdened by this “free” education. Public education is poorly supported by the Honduran government. Buildings are inadequate and not maintained. Materials are unavailable or offered at a price that students can’t afford. Teachers are ill-prepared. These chronic problems affect all of Honduras, but in the neglected area of the frontier region of Intibucá, they are exacerbated. Children mostly do not continue their education beyond the sixth grade. The economic reality of most families demands that they assist with farm labor or find other low paying employment. Whereas Hondurans with some financial means send their children to quality, private schools, poorer families simply do not have the opportunity.
It is true enough that children are drowning. It is a faulted education system that has tossed them into the river. How many scholars, civil engineers, doctors, physicists, lawyers, artists, musicians, leaders, and visionaries are unknown to Honduras because learning was unavailable to them? It is a sobering thought.
Shoulder to Shoulder is moving upriver. Since its inception, Shoulder to Shoulder has invested in quality education for young people. Our scholarship program enables over one-hundred young people to continue their education beyond the sixth grade, even unto college. The generosity of donors is matched to young people according to merit and need. This is making a substantial difference in their lives individually as well as within the communities they come from and will go to as professionals. In 2012, Shoulder to Shoulder partnered with the Good Shepherd Community of Cincinnati and founded Good Shepherd Bilingual School in Camasca, Intibucá. The building has been erected and three grades (kindergarten, first, and second) are presently enrolled.
The school is public, accessible to everyone, and offers a quality, bilingual education. It is the only one of its kind in all of Honduras. It exists as a collaborative effort among the Honduran Government, the Municipalities of the frontier region of Intibucá, Shoulder to Shoulder, and the students’ parents. Honduras considers it a model for public education. It offers unimagined opportunities for its alumni as well as substantive change for Honduras.
Shoulder to Shoulder believes that you, our donors and benefactors, would like to be part of this historic undertaking. We humbly invite you to seriously consider sponsoring one of the Good Shepherd Bilingual School children. We are certain that this synergetic relationship of generosity and gratitude will be transformative for both you and your sponsored child. Your commitment today will illuminate the path from poverty to progress.
Help us to move up river! www.shouldertoshoulder.org/sponsorshipprogram