In 2009, Esperanzas Unidas was inaugurated with a holiday party for the children of the village of Vega Redonda, Copan. The idea for this came when Esperanzas Unidas Co-Founder and Director, Angela Madrid Lara, observed that the vast majority of the youth in this village of her birth had never before received a gift in their lives – let alone one for the holiday season.
This holiday party transformed into 12 years of grassroots community projects, led completely by volunteers in the U.S. and in Honduras, through the nonprofit organization, Light of Esperanza.
During these years, we witnessed the dramatic improvement in the lives of the women and children of Honduras. Ranging from new sources of income and leadership opportunities from our women’s cooperative business projects, to 60 scholarships that supported girls to continue their education and graduate high school with a diploma, to delivering essential prenatal vitamins to expecting mothers in the eleven villages we have worked with.
In 2021, Esperanzas Unidas was approved as a nonprofit entity in Honduras, a new status that allowed our organization to amplify the work that we were already engaged in doing, now, as a professional nonprofit organization. During this transition, the Board of Light of Esperanza and Esperanzas Unidas had two principles that guided them in understanding the most effective path towards creating a lasting change in Honduras.
The first principle, is that Esperanzas Unidas needs to lead by our own example.
The access to economic, political, and social power by women in rural Honduras has been greatly limited by a history that has restricted their potential solely to domestic duties. If we want to change that reality, developing future leaders and working to uplift the women of rural Honduras, Esperanzas Unidas needs to reflect that goal in our leadership. While Esperanzas Unidas greatly welcomes the support by all members of our communities, including men, we are committed to being led by women.
The second guiding principle, is that bamboo has the potential to revolutionize Honduras.
A historically indigenous plant in Central America, bamboo has been waiting for rediscovery, revealing the infinite amount of environmental and economic benefits that it has to offer. Esperanzas Unidas has collaborated with local and international agricultural and sustainable building experts to create a solid plan that allows for bamboo to provide the basis for the change that we are helping to create in Honduras.
With the backing of our trained staff, and the continued support from our amazing volunteers and sponsors, Esperanzas Unidas is working to create a new Honduras - one of hope – a “united hope” - in the lives of the women and children we work with.
As our Esperanzas Unidas Co-Founder and Director, Iris Madrid, frequently likes to say:
“There’s lots of good work to be done today! Let’s get to it!
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