Dialogue Begins Between Honduran and U.S. Students

Monday, February 15, 2010 | posted by Jon Heifetz |
Global Playground's Project Honduras, a technology center for the Villa Soleada and Las Brisas communities in El Progreso, Honduras, will open in April 2010. In the meantime, two groups of students in the U.S. have already begun a cross-cultural dialogue with their Honduran counterparts in those communities.

Global Playground board member Becca Sacra, a fourth grade teacher at P.S. 261 in Brooklyn, New York, had her students create booklets about themselves to share with the students in Honduras. When her fellow board members traveled to Honduras in late December, they delivered the booklets and on their return brought back booklets that the Honduran students had made, about their own lives, for the students of P.S. 261.

Lea Kennedy, a Spanish teacher at Stonington High School in Connecticut and advisor of the Global Playground Club there, encouraged her students to make holiday cards for the Honduran students, who in return made New Year's cards. Going beyond just making cards for their counterparts, Stonington students have also pledged to raise $5000 toward the new technology center.

Through the technology center, a critical component of partner organization Students Helping Honduras's larger learning center in Villa Soleada, Global Playground aims to utilize technology to foster cross-cultural exchanges in "real time" between students in Honduras and those in the U.S. as well as those connected to other Global Playground project sites in Cambodia, Thailand, and Uganda.

Honduras: Ground Broken for Technology Center

Monday, February 15, 2010 | posted by Jon Heifetz |
Global Playground has launched Project Honduras, a technology center that will be a critical component of a larger learning center serving hundreds of impoverished youth. The learning center will serve the youth of the Las Brisas and Villa Soleada communities near El Progreso, the fourth largest city in Honduras.

Construction on the learning center began on December 14, 2009. Board members Doug Bunch, Doug Smith and Edward Branagan, accompanied by their families, visited the site around the New Year. According to Mr. Bunch, the center is "going up very fast" and is expected to serve between 200 and 250 students. The center will provide a safe educational space for youth living in impoverished areas near El Progreso, the home of Honduras's largest sweatshop, says Mr. Bunch.

Global Playground's technology center is part of a coordinated effort to improve educational opportunities for Honduran youth. This is critical, given that Honduras is the second poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, with 45 percent of its population under age 18. The larger learning center continues the ongoing work of Global Playground's partner organization, Students Helping Honduras, which has also constructed new homes for many of the youth's families. The new facility, which will also include a library and classroom space, will be utilized as a platform for a variety of community empowerment programs. In addition, the learning center will help improve educational opportunities for local youth participating in cross-cultural exchanges with U.S. students through Global Playground's "A World Beyond Classrooms" initiative.

Look out for a fully constructed learning center by April 2010!