Honduras: My first month in Peña Blanca and the “Escuela Técnica Vocacional Dr. Stephen Youngberg”

Hi, my name is Anders and I am the new (and first) project officer in Honduras. This year Teach a Man to Fish started collaboration with Dr. Stephen Youngberg Technical Vocational Schoolin Peña Blanca, with a business plan written by Teach A Man To Fish in April of 2012, and the school is now in the process of turning its courses into school businesses. The school currently has four courses running which are; cabinet making, car mechanic, sewing and woodcarving.  As of this year there are a total of 44 students on the four courses, but we hope to increase the number for next school year.

After one month in Peña Blanca I am finally starting to feel at home in the Honduran countryside; entering the rhythm of life, and speaking Spanish again after one year without practice.  I have been warmly welcomed, both by the staff at the Dr. Stephen Youngberg Technical Vocational School, and by the employees and volunteers at the organisation Pan American Health Service (PAHS) who started the school in 1998. These first weeks have been a process of getting to know the school’s employees and routines and understanding where the school is at now, and how we can move forwards with the project.

Car mechanic students

Regarding the school businesses; cabinet making is the most successful business so far, and had already been up and running for several months when I arrived at the school. The car mechanic and sewing businesses are both at early stages and there is clearly room for improvements here. Regarding the wood carving business I am writing this just as the first group of volunteers from Pan American Health Service has visited the school. This was also the start of the school’s woodcarving business, which aims to sell small handmade products and souvenirs at the school. The feedback was very good from the volunteers, and they clearly liked (and bought) the products and all in all our sales numbered a total of 12,204 lempiras / 620 USD. This is a great start for a very promising business!

The two most popular products; Jesus fish and jewellery box

The school is also planning to set up two new businesses next school year, which I will be helping them with. The first is a beauty salon business where students will learn what is needed to work in a beauty salon. The business will offer haircuts, hair colouring, manicure, etc. The second business relates to tourism, and will offer tourist activities around Peña Blanca such as guided hikes and boat trips, primarily to Pan American Health Service volunteers but also other tourists. The students will learn tour guiding and other aspects of the tourism industry

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