Turning Back the Clock on Child Labor

Mackens, a 7th grader here at NPH Honduras, has found a space to learn, grow, and simply be a kid.
April 22, 2018 - Honduras

Mackens* during the school day.

Throughout Latin America, child labor is prevalent, keeping children from their studies or from contributing to their family. While on the decline, there are still an estimated 5.7 million children working in adult labor positions throughout Latin America and the Caribbean. Tragically, this trend is felt viscerally here in Honduras as well.

However, here at NPH Honduras, we are helping children get back into school and back to being kids.

“I have actually always wanted to be a doctor, even before coming here (NPH Honduras) or at least something in the medical field,” Mackens*, a 7th grader who joined NPH Honduras in 2012, explains.

Unfortunately, as is the case with many of the children here, achieving this goal outside of NPH would have been nearly impossible due to the time Mackens spent not attending class to work supporting his family.

“Learning to read and do mathematics has been exciting. I am very excited about going to high school in Tegucigalpa,” Mackens continues.

Participating in school, Mackens says social studies and physical education classes are his current favorite. While learning to read, he shares that he initially read “smaller books with simple stories.”

Now his favorite books are from the famous “Narnia” series, each of the seven books of his editions is more than 100 pages long. Additionally, he is excelling in school and receiving passing grades in all of his classes.

“My brother and younger sisters (ages 14, 11 and six respectively) are all doing well as students too!”

Beyond general courses, Mackens is also taking a welding and metal workshop to get his trade certificate before graduating from high school. A far cry from the previous necessity of working to help his family, these classes provide control and flexibility for Mackens.

“I like the process of learning from the teacher, and you can choose which one you want to do. Next year, I think I want to do the carpentry workshop,” he says.

Outside of the classroom, Mackens enjoys his free time, which was illusive before coming to NPH due to time spent working. “I enjoy playing soccer and other sports with the children of NPH,” Mackens says regarding his free time. Additionally, Mackens enjoys sewing and refitting old clothes to help other children make sure they fit well.

While the process of reducing child labor is an uphill battle, NPH Honduras is helping children like Mackens regain their time to learn and grow as children.

Riley Sexton   
Communication Officer

You may be only one person in the world, but you may be all the world to one child.
—Fr. William Wasson




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