Our Story: Eriberto Rivera

by: Louis Deas

There is no shortage of inspiring stories that come out of HOI’s mission and work in Central America. These narratives speak to the powerful transformations taking place in the areas we serve on a daily basis. While we often highlight the change that takes place in the lives of those we serve, we rarely look at backstory and motivations of the ones who help keep our mission in motion. One of those dedicated individuals is Eriberto Rivera, HOI’s recently promoted Director of Economic Development and Gardening.

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Eriberto has always been a hard worker and determined to succeed in life. He was born and raised in the village of Corral Viejo in San Esteban to a family of modest means. His father was a farmer and his mother took care of the home and her six children. “We didn’t have much,” says Rivera,  “but we had love.” This appreciation for family, community, and self-determination would help shape Eriberto’s vision for the future.

Eriberto, or Eddie, as he likes to be called by his American friends, learned early in life that education was a major pathway toward success. In his youth, he wasn’t a fan of going to school. However, after seeing the impact that it had on his sisters he had a change of heart.

“I watched my sisters who moved to Tegucigalpa to work and continue their studies. They went to school and worked toward a better life than we had out in the fields. So I wondered to myself, ‘Why can’t I have the same?’” With a new sense of achievement and determination, Eriberto began doubling down his efforts in school. He worked harder than ever, striving to make the best grades that he could.

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His family was very supportive of his academic pursuits and encouraged him to continue chasing his dreams. However, one glaring obstacle stood in his way. Due to his family’s financial circumstances, his parents could not afford to send him to school. Rather than giving up, Eriberto took it upon himself to attend classes in the day and work in the afternoons to pay off his tuition. Upon completion of the 9th grade, he received a scholarship from HOI to attend high school to study agriculture and technology. Thanks to the HOI scholarship, he no longer had to split his time between work and school and was afforded the opportunity to devote 100% of his time to his education.

Upon graduating, Eriberto spent a few years working for a dairy processing facility, but was unable to continue his studies due to scheduling conflicts. Despite yet another setback, he persevered and discovered new inroads towards his goals. Thankfully, those paths led him to HOI.

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In 2007, Eriberto began working for HOI as an Agriculture and Gardening Assistant utilizing the skills he acquired in school to help improve the lives of residents in the local villages. His employment with HOI not only gave him the opportunity to grow as a professional, but also provided him the space and time that he needed to return to school and earn a degree. In 2008, Eriberto relaunched his academic pursuit and began working towards a degree in Business Engineering. As a result of his hard work and education, he was promoted to Agriculture Coordinator in 2011, and was most recently promoted to Director of the Economic Development Program. This newly founded program area aims to bring progress and development to the Agalta Valley through the creation and development of small businesses and other economic growth projects.

Eriberto is a sterling example of the possibilities that lie ahead when residents of the Agalta Valley, especially young people, are empowered to take their future into their own hands. Through hard work, education, and opportunity Eriberto is taking steps to live the life that he has chosen for himself. In turn, he is helping others to do the same. “Now I can say with confidence to young people that community development first begins in the homes, with a solid family foundation. We must work hard to get an education, because it is one of the pillars to developing our communities.”

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