Brenda, left, and Maria Felicita. Photo: Alejandra Kaiser.
Honduras – March 14 2018

Supporting young graduates at a crucial point in their lives

Brenda and Maria Felicita are two young women with big dreams. Brenda studies journalism, while Maria Felicita studies foreign languages and wants to be a teacher. However, despite their ambitions, the two housemates, like many other young people in Honduras, face challenges in finding decent work.

According to the Ministry of Labour in Honduras, half of the 18 to 30 year olds in the country are unemployed*. In addition, 20% are inactive, meaning that they do not study or are not looking for work. A project between SOS Children’s Villages Honduras and an NGO called Transición Honduras, Association of Youth for Honduras, is responding to this crisis by assisting young graduates.

“The objective of this alliance is to train and accompany the young graduates in their transition to independent life in the hope that in the future they will be self-sufficient. This means they will be able to make their own decisions as responsible adults. Our aim is that they will be able to take care of their basic and financial needs, integrate well into the community and contribute to the productive society of the country,” says Nicolas Alfaro, National Director of SOS Children’s Villages Honduras.

Support is given through housing, food, funding for education – formal and non-formal – and recreational areas. The young graduates receive training aimed at the development of life skills and their entry into the labour market. During the first year, they reside in a house where they can learn about managing a home.

At the end of the year they move to live independently in the community, where the economic and technical support can be extended from one to four years.

Maria Felicita arrived at the SOS Children’s Village Choluteca with her three brothers when she was three years old. Today, Maria has learned to have a positive attitude in life.

She is a smiling, young woman and feels happy to be at university and have responsibilities. “I love French, and since not many people teach it, I want to be a French teacher when I graduate,” she says.

Brenda arrived at the SOS Children’s Village Tegucigalpa when she was ten years old. “We are five children; my mother left us when I was ten. I was the oldest one so I took care of the younger ones. They were like my children, since my father worked all the time,” she remembers. Shortly after this, she came to the village. At first, it was hard to be away from her father, but her aunt – as she calls her SOS mother – made her feel at home.

Brenda dreams of one day becoming a TV presenter. Maria Felicita adds that Brenda has very good taste in clothes and that she will look great on TV. “We met in the youth house where we lived before,” explains Maria Felicita.

The apartment’s location is very convenient for them, since it is only 20 minutes away from the university. It serves as a base for the women to learn for their exams and plan their future. With the support of SOS Children’s Villages and Transición Honduras, these women have a solid foundation to start their careers and to live successful independent lives.