Since HOI’s clinics were established in the early 1990s, we have effectively lowered the infant mortality rate in the Agalta Valley by 88% and have raised the vaccination rate from 15% to 97%. Family planning workshops and health education have contributed to a decrease in average family size from 10 to 5 children. Other educational initiatives on malaria prevention have led to a reduction in the number of malaria cases from nearly 500 in 1997 to only half a dozen cases from 2008-2012.
Each year, an average of 10,000 patients from 33 villages receive quality healthcare and disease prevention education through HOI’s 4 health clinics and visiting medical missions volunteers. At our main clinic, we have full time staff including a doctor, nurses, dentist, pharmacist, and physical therapist. Our primary focuses continue to be nutrition, sanitation, immunization, malaria and dengue education, family planning, and pre and postnatal care.
Our goal is to create a system of healthcare that can serve as a model for all of rural Honduras.
HOI has actively promoted education in the Agalta Valley for nearly 25 years, working with community residents and local governments to build 43 public kindergartens. Staffed by volunteer teachers, these local kindergartens allow children in remote villages to begin learning at an early age.
In 2000 and 2001, HOI established private elementary and middle schools. Our schools provide a quality education for 270 students each year. An average of 97% of elementary graduates continue on to middle school, compared with only 66% of students from area public schools.
HOI’s middle school has an on-campus library, computer lab with internet access, new cooking and sewing classes, and a full-time English teacher, contributing to a 23% increase in enrollment over the past 3 years. 80% of HOI’s middle school graduates applied for high school this past year, compared to the Honduran national average of 30%.
HOI’s Pathway Scholarship Fund makes it possible for elementary and middle school students in the Agalta Valley to receive a quality education through the help of U.S. sponsors. HOI also awards approximately 90 scholarships to local high school students each year.
Economic development is becoming a growing priority in order to create opportunities that will benefit and sustain communities for years to come. In 2013, a few villages near HOI’s ranch received training from HOI on Asset Based Community Development, an approach that assesses a village’s existing assets as well as resources from their government and other local entities. In this way, local people are encouraged to look for opportunities already within their reach that will provide income and improve their quality of life.
The village committees brainstormed ideas for improvement, prioritized, set goals, and drew up plans with the guidance of HOI staff. HOI selected two projects that demonstrated strong initiative, planning and support by the community leaders. One of the projects selected was an egg production plan in Santa Ana.
With the assistance from their partner church’s mission team, the community built a chicken coop and participated in training to learn how to run a small business. The village provided the initial investment toward the purchase of the chickens and the HOI ranch staff has supported the community with guidance throughout this process. They are now producing eggs, selling them in their own community, and to surrounding villages. With access to eggs, the community is opening also starting its own bakery.
Our desire is to create avenues for sustainable income through encouraging entrepreneurs, building up business skills, and helping provide access to markets.
Agriculture was one of HOI’s earliest and most important ministries. Our local staff has worked with thousands of residents over the years to provide the training necessary to improve agricultural production, grow healthier food to eat, and increase local revenue. Over 100 families are trained annually in sustainable gardening, providing opportunities for better nutrition throughout their community.
HOI has played an important role in establishing co-ops for dairy and coffee farmers to better manage production and sales. Approximately 150 students have graduated from HOI’s Agriculture Vocational School, acquiring new skills that allow them to assist their communities in farming and animal husbandry. Veterinary mission teams provide treatment for an average of 3,000 animals annually, along with animal health and management training for residents.
HOI’s agriculture programs hope to provide education, nutrition, and economic opportunities for families throughout this region.
Each year, over 1,000 mission trip volunteers partner with local communities in Honduras and Nicaragua in the following projects:
- Building latrines: preventing illnesses by improving health and sanitation conditions
- Building chimneys: reducing respiratory problems caused by smoke inhalation
- Constructing concrete floors: eliminating breeding grounds for disease-causing insects
- Constructing water lines: providing access to clean water
- Training in medical and dental hygiene: teaching the importance of hygiene in preventing diseases.
- Teaching Bible classes for children and adults: furthering an understanding of God’s love for us and how to love others.
HOI’s community development model is based on a healthy partnership between communities, HOI staff, and volunteers. We desire to empower the people of Central America by focusing on their strengths and abilities. We train 50 community leaders annually on decision making, community involvement and civic responsibility. We prioritize protecting the dignity of these communities by working with rather than for them.
HOI’s spiritual development program is dedicated to teaching the Bible throughout the Agalta Valley. Over the past 15 years, 150 pastors have been trained through an 8-month Bible program, reaching 85 villages that now have knowledgeable faith leaders in their communities. Our staff pastor’s role is to invest in local village pastors, lead HOI staff devotionals, lead bible studies at our middle school, and arrange for visiting teams to meet with families and individuals who express a desire to pray together. Over 1,500 children each year learn of God’s love through Bible classes taught by mission teams.
Our most recent addition to the spiritual development program is our partnership with Young Life, an international ministry focused on introducing youth to Christ and helping them grow in their faith. Our hope is that through Young Life, we will continue to spread the Word of God and help others grow in their faith throughout this region.
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