Saturday, January 16, 2010

OYE youth focus groups

This week we were able to sit in on some meetings with a few of the becarios. They were broken down into three different groups: ciclo comĂșn (which is the youngest age group), Carrera, and Universidad. In each group there was a noticeable difference with the delivery of their answers. They all had the same basic worries and issues, the older (carrera and universidad) concentrated more the politic side of the issues. The main issues that each group expressed are education, poverty, unemployment, and health.
                  The students amazed me with their answers, with their responses you could tell that they are focused and want to make a change. Marisol, who is the one who lead the meetings, asked them a series of questions, for example: What can they (youth) do to help solve issues in Honduras, What do they think about poverty, How are issues in the country affecting education? I thought to myself, ¨WOW, these questions are really hard! ¨ I have no idea how I would´ve answered them. I guess the kids seemed to think differently, they immediately answered them, the first one always being Education. It truly did affect the kids that because of teachers being on strike, and everything happening with the government, it caused them not to have school. Their main concern was that they didn´t feel prepared for the following school year. They had to rely on teaching themselves, even the difficult subjects. Many of these children attended public school and they went as little as once a week to class, they kept canceling class. One of the things that struck me most, and that I thought was an amazing answer was that the Education will keep getting worse if the issues don´t get fixed in the government. The children strongly believe that since all these things are going on with the Honduran government, they aren´t concentrating on the real issues, a huge one being education. Another statement that was made that really struck me was that the government should worry more about education, to pay the teachers so they can teach, without teaching there is no development.
                  With health, they believed that if they didn´t have health then they wouldn´t be able to do what they want to do. They need to be healthy if they want to make a difference, go to school, and make their dreams come true. The students are well aware that there are big deficiencies in the health system. They are well aware that the health system is an exclusive one; the rich are the ones that receive what they need, mentioned some of the kids. They do know that if needed there are hospitals that they can go to, but they won´t receive the best care, mostly just because the hospital doesn´t have the capability to do it not because they don´t want to.
                  Poverty is something that they see everywhere; they keep being promised things that can help them to improve their living conditions and lives. One of the examples that a becario brought up was the fact that Pepe Lobo said that by the time he left office he wanted each house hold to have a computer. This student brought up the fact that yes it would be nice to have a computer and it would be helpful in their studies, but that the money could be used to get better equipment in the schools: materials, teachers, etc.
                  One of the final questions asked during the group was, ¨What do youth need in able to develop more goals?¨ Many of the answers were incredible, opportunities, education, incentives, people who show they care. My favorite answer was OPPORTUNITY. You need to be given the opportunity so you can set goals and be able to achieve them. If you don´t have the opportunity, then it may be nearly impossible. I really enjoyed sitting in on these groups, all of them have so much to offer and have a strong opinion. I´m excited to get to meet each one of these students and just know more of what they think.

-Jeincy Paniagua

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