nueva-suyapa

Reasons for Hope: Transforming Communities

When you read the news about Honduras, you may be tempted to feel hopeless about the country’s situation. But focusing on these negative reports only tells part of the story. Honduras has already made incredible strides towards justice and transparency, and AJS’s work over the past 20 years has shown us that change is possible even in challenging places.police.JPG

The community of Nueva Suyapa, a Tegucigalpa neighborhood that struggles with violence and poverty, is often written off as a place that’s beyond hope. But it’s a place that many of our staff call home, and a place where we believe justice is possible.

When AJS started working on homicide cases in Nueva Suyapa, the murder rate was sky-high and criminals walked free. We committed to walking alongside both victims and local authorities, and as a result, we’ve seen the homicide rate drop by over 75%! Not only have we seen violence drop in Nueva Suyapa, but the homicide rate in Honduras has dropped almost 50% in 7 years. Now, we’re training police and prosecutors across the country so that our justice interventions will continue to transform communities.

When we started, it might have seemed like rooting out injustice was a hopeless pursuit. But these transformations prove that doing justice is not too difficult and that change is possible. 

We’re also seeing brave Hondurans standing up for change in their communities. Every week, over 70 community auditors show up to school.JPGpublic schools and health clinics in communities like Nueva Suyapa, ensuring that their kids are getting a good education and that clinics are providing their neighbors with proper care. They refuse to let apathy set in or to think that Honduras’ problems are too big. They are active agents of hope who have taken the fight against corruption into their own hands and because of it, we’re seeing change.

Change is happening in seemingly hopeless places like Nueva Suyapa and across Honduras. Looking at the progress we’ve made and the commitment of brave Hondurans, we are convinced that if we walk together in this journey toward justice, Honduras’ future will be bright. 

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The New York Times published an opinion piece by Sonia Nazario, Pulitzer Prize winning author and also our good friend, about the problems facing Honduras. For those of us who love Honduras, it is not an easy read - but we have seen change and we remain hopeful.