The first round of videos in our Youth Storytellers series come to us from some young change-makers in Honduras. Our Youth Storytellers have filmed and edited these videos to demonstrate the successes in their communities.
In Honduras, we are working alongside our partners at Vecinos Honduras to foster enterprises at the local level in order to regenerate local livelihoods and build the economies of rural communities. Vecinos Honduras provides education for members of the community, particularly young people, to learn skills and trades that allow them to gain financial independence and bolster their local economy. Through these efforts, over 650 people, including over 70 young people, have been able to form savings and credit cooperatives, mobilizing over $510,800 in savings.
Youth Storyteller Merlin Aguirre is one such youth in the Los Cavales Numero Uno community of Azabache. The son of a single mother, Merlin joined the El Esfuerzo Local Saving and Credit Union youth group Alianza Juvenil at age 20, where he received training from Vecinos Honduras to make metal silos and quickly started expanding his tinsmithing skills. Now, at 26 years old, Merlin owns his own tinsmith shop, Hojalateria La Bendición, where he crafts and sells metal silos, bread recipients, metal tubs, chimneys, accessories for coffee grinding machines, signs, license plate frames for vehicles, and more. Merlin’s skills and entrepreneurship are helping to revitalize his local economy by allowing his neighbors to buy the items they need locally – to store grain to increase food security and gain independence from middlemen, process agricultural products, avoiding smoke contamination from cooking fires in homes, and using motorcycles for local transport. Merlin is also teaching his craft to other youths to enable his community to build success together.
Watch the video below to see him demonstrate his craft:
A large focus of Groundswell International’s work is on empowering women in rural communities around the globe. Women in the Concepción de María region of Choluteca in Honduras have been empowered to find their voices and take their places as leaders in their communities thanks to practical training and education from our partners Vecinos Honduras. Community members explain that while women used to feel timid, the education they have received has instilled confidence in them to make their voices heard and has left women feeling that they are now on an equal level with the men in their communities.
Similarly, community analysis and refection facilitated by Vecinos Honduras has helped everyone in the community to better understand and relate to each other. Many men now see more clearly the contributions that women have always made to their families and communities in so many ways, which has fostered deeper respect and collaboration in the community as men now contribute equally in their homes and families.
Watch the video below to learn more about how the people in these communities are thriving: