One of the largest expenses we raise funds for at The Children’s Home Project is private school scholarships. In 2018, eight Proniño kids will have the chance to receive a private education. The number brings tears to my eyes. Education is the key. There are hundreds of obstacles to breaking the cycle of poverty, but education is often one of the biggest ones. And more often, if the education obstacle can’t be overcome, none of the other obstacles really matter. Diplomas open doors and give way to opportunities that are otherwise unattainable.
Earlier this year, Wilson ran away. He got mad about something small, that led to something big, and his impulsive 15 year old brain told him that leaving was the only option. I could not believe it when I heard the news. But Wilson??? He seemed to be one of the most stable kids, with four years of private school under his belt. How could this have happened?
I was on a visit to the States, frustrated by distance and anxiously awaiting news that he made the decision to go back to Proniño. Two weeks went by and that news had not come. Shortly upon returning to Honduras, I found myself sitting across the table from Wilson, diving into a baleada at my favorite coffee shop. I still don’t know how it happened, but I found him in the community where his mom lives, an incredibly dangerous area of homes built up along a river in San Pedro Sula. He was a little reluctant to go with me. He knew that chatting with me would be me trying to convince him to return to Proniño. Although he was not interested in listening to me, a baleada must have sounded too good to pass up. I don’t blame him. I can’t turn down a baleada either.
I wish I could say that it was my nice convincing words or the delicious baleada that enticed him to go back to Proniño, but that just isn’t the truth. It was his shirt. His no longer white, a little bit torn, private school uniform shirt. He must’ve thrown it in his bag when he left and as it was no longer necessary for private school, he just happened to be wearing it on that random day.
The pride that comes from the kids in private school is often evident. It is something they’ve worked hard for, and continuously work hard for over the years. They are aware of the difference it will make in their lives and have set high goals because of it. As they become more and more aware of this accomplishment, they find pride in putting on that uniform and and walking in to the school with confidence that they are capable. That they belong.
I pointed it out. It used to be the shirt that he would wash every day as he got home, making sure it was white and (mostly) wrinkle-free for the next day of class. I reminded him of that, the pride that came with putting on that shirt each day. How that shirt isn’t meant to be tattered and torn, but rather, it is meant to be worn by a child that against a lot of odds, is fighting to rise above and become an educated adult. It is to be worn by a child that is fighting to break the cycle of poverty for himself and his family. It is meant to be worn with pride by a child that is unconditionally loved, believed in, and capable of great success with the opportunities before him. I reminded him that the shirt he is wearing doesn’t belong to anyone else. It is his, and it will always be his. I encouraged him to use the shirt for what he and I both know it is meant to be used for, because he is that child. He deserves to put it on everyday with the confidence of knowing that he can change the world. He is worthy, and once he could see that the shirt belongs to him and no one else, he remembered that.
So we headed to Proniño. Upon arriving, he scrubbed that shirt like never before and hung it to dry. The next day was Monday, after all. He had some chains to break.
The difference that private school makes in the lives of these kids is not one that I can adequately put into words. It significantly increases their chance to be university-bound. It gives them the chance to be pushed alongside peers and to know that dreaming big is the only option when it comes to future careers and goals. We need $7500 to cover four private high school and two private technical school scholarships.
Will you make sure that these guys can put on their uniform each day in 2018? Click here.