Jasper-based nonprofit empowers impoverished communities in Honduras
by Jennifer Cohron
Story from The Daily Mountain Eagle
Over the past decade, Michael Franklin has watched hopelessness pervade an entire generation of Hondurans.
“More or less, the gangs have taken over the country,” said Franklin, a founding member and programs director for the Alabama Honduras Medical Educational Network, which is based in Jasper. “Kids are being recruited into gangs every day because there is just no other option.
Few youth continue their education beyond the fourth grade.
After leaving school, most children either join a gang, which provides them and their family some protection in the murder capital of the world, or seek work as a sweatshop employee or a farm laborer.
A growing number of children are choosing instead to cross into the United States illegally. More than 57,000 unaccompanied minors from Central America have been caught doing so since October.
While in Honduras with AHMEN in June, Franklin heard from one young man who wanted to flee to the border. Another confessed that he was close to joining a gang after being threatened for trying to open a medical clinic in his community.
Franklin was encouraged that rather than acting on their plans, both were following through on the commitment that they had made to AHMEN'S Community Empowerment Program.
The program is a collaboration with Servants in Faith and Technology, a nonprofit based in Lineville.
The goal of the AHMEN-SIFAT initiative is to develop the capacity of local leadership to address such integral health issues as clean water, abuse and violence prevention and HIV/AIDS.
Instructor Byron Morales meets with groups of between 45 and 60 people every three months for three years. Some walk for hours to attend. The workshops are currently held in three locations, and Franklin hopes the program can expand into two more areas next year.
In addition to the training they receive, Franklin believes participants also benefit from being able to freely speak their minds in a country where protestors are routinely jailed or killed. “Another thing that Byron does is help people know that they are not alone in this fight.
Three-fourths of the world is combating the same issues. I think that helps people feel like they’re not so isolated, that if they work together and get their voice out there that hopefully people will listen,” Franklin said. The cost to send a 10-member AHMEN team to Honduras on a week-long mission trip is approximately $16,000. N
Medical mission to Limon Honduras May 23 -31, 2014 looking for team members if you or someone you know is interested in a mission trip please contact me Lou Altman laaltman @netscape.net Cost is approx. $1600 includes airfare,lodging, food.
Saturday, November 7th - Preload
Saturday, November 21st - Loading
November 28th - Arrival in Honduras
December 5th - Clearance
The Spring dates are arranged to avoid the Easter holiday break in Honduras, as well as to avoid conflicts with Easter break here, while providing the earliest possible arrival for supplies for the May mission teams. Yours in Service, Pam Greene AHMEN Logistics Team Leader 205.669.9279