Empowering Honduras

A Student Activist is Teaching Skills to Disadvantaged Youth in Order to Give Them a Shot at Success and Make Her Country Safer

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Johanny Amaya (third from left) with “Empower Honduras” participants

Johanny Amaya believes that teaching English and entrepreneurial skills to vulnerable youth in Honduras is the best way to give them a leg up finding a job and improving their quality of life.

She says her interest in giving youth opportunities is, in part, motivated by her own personal history.

“When I was little, I did not have the economical resources to go to school, but there was this one organization, Children International, that provided me with school supplies, shoes, psychological, and medical support,” she explains.

That assistance enabled her to finish primary school.

“And I continued struggling on, continued higher education, and I received a scholarship to study English. I studied for one year and after that, I had more opportunities to find a job, and because of these opportunities, I was able to finish high school and continue to higher education,” Amaya explains.

She knew she wanted to do something similar for other at-risk youth in Honduras.

Amaya is one of World Learning’s Advancing Leadership Fellows who received a grant and mentorship support to work on a social entrepreneurship project. In 2016, six World Learning program alumni used the fellowship to implement social good projects around the world.

In December, she will be graduating from the Department of Foreign Languages at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Honduras. She is also part of Proyecto Guala — Manos en Acción (Guala Project — Hands in Action), an initiative which seeks to contribute to the development of the Honduran population through the use of innovative technologies.

In spring 2016, she took part in World Learning’s Global Undergraduate Exchange Program, also known as Global UGRAD, which offers one semester scholarships to future leaders in order to experience U.S. higher education and share their culture while exploring U.S. culture and values. As part of the program, Amaya studied at Emporia State University in Kansas, where she took courses in languages, leadership, and music.

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Her project “Empower Honduras” focuses on youth living in orphanages and shelters. Her group works with about 30 young people. Right now it’s a six-month program, but her goal is to work with more participants over a two-year period to increase their English language and leadership skills.

“We feel that participation in this project will inspire and motivate participants to work hard for their dreams and will encourage them to see beyond their limitations,” she explains.

Benefits of the program are hoped to extend well beyond the program participants.

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“It is our hope and belief that providing these skills to those who are marginalized will help mitigate the high possibility that they will become involved in gangs, criminal actions, robbery, migration and other activities with negative impacts on our country,” adds Amaya.

World Learning empowers people, communities, and institutions to create a more peaceful and just world.

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World Learning empowers people, communities, and institutions to create a more peaceful and just world.

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