Unicef: Ewan and Charley visit a Community Centre in Honduras
During Long Way up, Ewan and Charley planned to visit several Unicef sites along the route from Argentina to Los Angeles to see the vital work that they are doing to help children in the region.
With the third-highest homicide rates in the country, Choloma, Honduras is considered one of the most violent in the world. UNICEF runs the Colonia Japón Local Community Centre in the city to provide a safe space for young people and children. With early enough interventions, through drama and the arts they have been able to reduce violence by keeping kids safe and off the streets to prevent them from being recruited into local gangs. Offering a range of programmes and training, visitors can learn hairdressing, use the gym, music room or take some time out to catch up on schoolwork.
Ewan and Charley met 17 year old José Manuel, who attends the UNICEF centre. He told the pair of his experiences living in Choloma, of friends he’d lost to drug addiction, gangs and violence. One friend, he says, joined a gang and was murdered two years ago. Four others went missing and were also killed. José cannot afford to go to school and so works in San Pedro Sula, advertising for stores as well as helping out at the local community centre. For young people like José, this community centre is a life line. A chance to train, acquire new skills, hang out with friends and create a better future. The community centre gives these children and young people a choice, away from gangs and street violence.
The boys chatted with the children and young people at the centre and saw first hand the positive impact that UNICEF’s programmes are having on the community. In 2018, these centres reached over 6,000 young people, changing lives and futures for the better.