In retaliation for what he perceives to be a lack of support from the leaders of Central American nations, President Trump announced last week that he intends to cut $500 million from programs addressing the root causes of migration from those nations.  This makes me question whether the money that has been spent so far to fight poverty, violence, and unemployment is making an impact.

Andrew talking to a man working at the dump in Tegucigalpa, Honduras

Last week, Andrew Pawuk and I visited the schools and homes of our scholars in Honduras, and I can say with 100% certainty that the investments of our donors are, in fact, changing conditions in meaningful ways.  For ten years, we have been giving scholarships to young people in San Pedro Sula to escape a life of working in the dumps.  San Pedro Sula is one of the most violent cities in the world, and Erika Cuevas, our leader on the ground, has been mentoring our scholars there and challenging them to grow in ways beyond the scope of their imagination.  It’s working.  Our scholars, all of whom are facing some of the most dire conditions imaginable, are emerging as graduates and young people who are filled with confidence and joy.

Pablo, 12, and Paulita, 10, are just one example.  They are orphans whose home burned down last September.  They live alone in a small home right next door to their 19-year-old sister and her husband and baby.  But because of our donors, they have enough food on the table, clothes to wear, and even a scholarship to go to a good school each day.  They are flourishing, and there are 82 other young people in Honduras getting scholarships and support to overcome their challenges just like them. 

Together, we are making a difference that will be felt for generations to come.  As we look to double our scholars in each of the next couple of years, and as those young people become leaders in their nations in the years to come, I believe that they will begin to change the history of violence and poverty in their communities.

Mike with Pablo (bottom right), Paulita (between Mike and Pablo) with a group of fellow Honduran scholarship students

If you don’t believe me, or if you do and you want to hear more, please join me next Thursday night at St. Mary Student Center in Ann Arbor to hear from the leaders of our work in Ethiopia, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua.

Whether you think Trump was right or wrong, this is your chance to hear from the leaders of that work and to talk with them about their impact and challenges.  I guarantee you will walk away with at least one new insight, inspiration, friend or perspective.

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