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Canadian donors in Honduras: Learning the true value of education

Imagine you could meet the people directly benefitting from your efforts to change the world. Imagine seeing the real ways their lives have improved and knowing you helped make amazing things possible.

After travelling with Plan Canada to visit our projects in Honduras, one group of donors was able to do just that – and see their donations in action.

Collectively, the 5 Canadian trip-goers – some of whom are new to Plan, while others have been involved for over 20 years – have generously sponsored multiple children, communities and projects through Plan, supporting improved access to education.

Group of Canadian donors

The group of donors included (from left) Sharon and Geoff Harding from Calgary, Alberta, Dr. Deb Giesbrecht from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Dr. Lori Wood from Halifax, Nova Scotia and Suzanne McDougall from Toronto, Ontario.

When the group first arrived in Honduras, they visited a school that has not yet benefitted from Plan’s support, to better understand the unique challenges locals face due to the cycle of poverty.

Later, when they visited two Plan-supported primary schools, the impact of Plan’s work was immediately evident. Before even entering the modern and well-kept buildings they were welcomed by parades of children, dressed in uniforms, playing instruments and waving celebratory banners and Canadian flags.

“It reinforced that education is the ultimate key to progress,” says Dr. Lori Wood.

A lasting impression

Inside the schools, children in traditional costumes performed song and dance numbers on stage, school officials gave speeches and students gave polished presentations, all with the help of community volunteers.

“Being a part of the celebration was very memorable! We loved seeing how the community was vested in the future of the school!” share Geoff and Sharon Harding.

Touring the facilities, the group saw new latrines, libraries stocked with books and computers, and school supplies such as new desks. They observed children participating in technical learning activities and giving presentations, and teams playing organized games in the clean, paved school yard.

The donors were impressed by environmentally sustainable initiatives like recycling programs and school gardens. They learned that the production of communal, on-campus crops provides students with hands-on agricultural training and generates income to support the school and surrounding families.

“It was never just about the structures. It was the involvement and programs that stood out,” explain the Hardings. “The community had taken ownership to sustain the projects.”

The group also checked out two Plan-funded health centres, including a maternal health clinic. Here, they saw clean delivery rooms, patient visit and vaccination charts, ambulances, medical supplies and advanced machinery. They also met women with healthy newborns continuing to benefit from the health services.

New links of hope

The Canadians were uplifted by the life-changing trip, which donor Suzanne McDougall described as both “positive and hopeful”. The group thanked their hosts with Ardene’s Link to Love bracelets. Ardene had generously donated all net proceeds from the bracelet’s sales to Plan’s Because I am a Girl project in Honduras, meaning these accessories symbolized even more than a great fashion statement.

The group left Honduras knowing that their contributions are improving the lives of children and families in meaningful, lasting ways. Yet, they also left knowing that the true impact and value of these changes are truly immeasurable: as Dr. Lori Wood reflects, “Plan is building 4 walls and a roof, but much, much more than that.”

Honduras children wave, with a “Thank you” banner.

These children have good reason to celebrate: they can now look forward to brighter futures

Thanks to the generosity and support of Plan donors and corporate partners like Ardene, children from this Honduran community now have the chance to reach their full potential – a chance every child deserves. Unfortunately though, this isn’t the case for more than 121 million school-aged children who are missing out on an education across the developing world.

With your help, we can change this and put children back where they belong: in school.