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FOOD FOR THE POOR: Empowering Women Learning a New Trade in Honduras

Women in Honduras, struggling to provide for their families, are losing economic opportunities because they do not have the certification needed to obtain one of the many well-paying jobs driving trucks.

Many women who enrolled at the Puerto Cortes Transportation School have been forced to withdraw to work temporary jobs to make ends meet, instead of staying the course and obtaining a better job as a truck driver.

On International Women’s Day, which is March 8, generous Food For The Poor donors can be a blessing by providing 25 scholarships to these qualified women, so they can stay in school.

The scholarships include 482 hours of training. The women also will receive a monthly stipend of $125 during the four-month training period.

This project is in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, which ensure that women are given the same economic opportunities as men.

“Women and girls are known to suffer disproportionately when they are poor,” said Food For The Poor EVP & Chief Marketing Officer Angel Aloma. “By helping these women finish school, they can gain employment as a truck driver and take their families out of poverty while providing greater economic opportunities for their families.”

Once certified, the drivers can earn about $700 a month, well above the minimum wage of $375 per month.

CEPUDO, the charity’s longtime trusted in-country partner, is managing the project.

When the Puerto Cortes Transportation School was created and built by the charity’s donors, the goal was to require local transportation companies to pay for the training of commercial drivers. The intent was to cover the school’s operating costs and have additional revenue that could be used to provide scholarships for students living in poverty.

But the school hasn’t secured enough funding to cover operational expenses – let alone provide scholarships.

Meanwhile, the demand for certified drivers for buses and trucks is growing in Honduras, as roads have been improved and logistical capabilities increase.

The Honduran National Institute of Statistics estimates that Honduras is experiencing a shortage of more than 5,000 certified drivers per year. As a result, trucks sit idle and trucking companies are unable to operate at full capacity.

Forty-nine students have graduated from the transportation school, many of whom have gone on to accept jobs as certified drivers. But without external funding, more than 200 people on a waiting list will be unable to attend the school.

Carolina, a mother of two, benefited from the training and now has a good-paying job to support her family.

“Before this program, I had many economic problems. It was difficult to pay for school, food and home expenses,” she said. “This program has changed my life.”

To donate to the project, please visit www.FoodForThePoor.com/iwd.

Food For The Poor, one of the largest international relief and development organizations in the nation, does much more than feed millions of hungry children and families living in poverty primarily in 17 countries of the Caribbean and Latin America. This interdenominational Christian ministry provides emergency relief assistance, clean water, medicine, educational materials, homes, support for orphaned and abandoned children, care for the aged, skills training and micro-enterprise development assistance. For more information, please visit www.FoodForThePoor.org.

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