11 Dec DESEO Plans for 2021
By Donna Waldron
Proverbs 19:21 says, “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.” That certainly describes what 2020 has looked like for many of us and especially our DESEO program. We had some exciting plans with some new ideas to implement for 2020. We started with a bang when suddenly Covid-19 happened. Like most, we surmised that the shut-down would be temporary. We sent our DESEO team members out to our Moses Project to work in positions that were opening up, instead of laying them off. This temporary arrangement became permanent as time went on and suddenly we are at the end of the year. I recently met with our DESEO team members and offered each of them the to opportunity to stay in their new positions for 2021. They each expressed sincere gratitude for the opportunity to continue working during the pandemic and they also each expressed a strong desire to be back on the DESEO team for 2021. Now that the changes of 2020 seem to be never ending, we are forced to reinvent ourselves as a ministry. We also have had to ask honest questions about our worth as a program and if our foundational purposes are worthy of forging a new approach in order to maintain our goals and purposes. As a team, we all agree that the program is worthy of saving and that we must reinvent ourselves in our new reality.
Like many U.S. schools, Honduran schools have moved to a remote learning approach. Sadly, 1.4 million children in Honduras do not have access to remote learning and have been forced to drop out of school. What we know from our work among this population is that the majority of those children will never return to school. Many come from families that need all hands on deck to labor for the daily food the family needs to survive. It is a sacrifice for many families in Honduras to have an able-bodied child in school all day when they could be working. With the pandemic, and now the devastation of back to back hurricanes, the prospects of those children going back to school are very slim. The other 1.4 million children in Honduras who have managed to stay connected to remote learning, will be in need of serious remediation. Remote learning in Honduras is nothing like remote learning in the U.S. The government makes no provisions for children’s connectivity nor does it provide any type of devices. The best teachers can do, in many cases, is send homework assignments and ask the children to send back photos of the completed tasks. Teaching and instruction are not available, except in the cases of the children from upper class families who attend private schools. With the widespread destruction of the hurricanes, the 1.4 million number is expected to increase significantly as thousands of families have been displaced and have lost everything.
In light of these challenges, our team has spent several hours brainstorming ideas of how we can make a difference in our region. The verdict is still out on whether the 2021 school year will begin remotely or in person. Our school year is February till November, so there is still some time to decide. Regardless of the situation, we have opportunities in abundance to make a difference. The first, and perhaps most important thing, we will be doing starting in January of 2021 is to visit the children who have dropped out of school to encourage them to get back in school and assess what their needs are. We will also double down on our tutoring program this year, helping with remediation as much as we can. This may be done house to house or in small groups in an outdoor setting. We have also discussed forming small groups of students who have dropped out due to lack of resources and giving them in that group access to remote learning as well as much needed tutoring to help them stay engaged in school. We obviously can’t help the 1.4 million children who have dropped out of school, but we can help several hundred children in our region. This effort to get children back in school and back on track will extend way beyond 2021. Our team of 6 will have their hands full and if funding were available, we would increase our team and our outreach. We appreciate your prayers and support as we figure out how to make our new reality something good and positive in which God is glorified.