We are a team of twelve volunteers and two team leaders from Honduras and the UK, here to promote healthy lifestyles to prevent substance abuse in Catacamas. Working in partnership with health organisation Predisan and their rehabilitation project CEREPA (Centre for the Rehabilitation of Patients with Addictions), we aim to fulfil a number of short-term goals and kick-start the project’s longer-term outcomes during our 10-week cycle.

Substance abuse has increased significantly over the last decade in the community of Catacamas. Of all patients admitted for drug addiction at CEREPA, the age range with the highest number of admittances is young people aged 14 to 25. Laura Harms, Coordinator of International Relations at Predisan, considers four main factors to be causing the increase:

1. Parents are immigrating to the United States to earn a living, leaving their children with relatives or single parent households. The parent in the US sends dollars to compensate for their absence, so children and youth have more pocket money available and less parental supervision.

2. The absence of one or both parents causes emotional problems for children or teenagers and they may seek something that will compensate for negative feelings.

3. Honduras is along the American trade route and the availability of drugs has increased. Cartels and drug dealers that used to pass through are now doing business in the community, neighbourhoods, and schools.

4. The rate of young people that experience violence, poverty, and the accompanying stresses is very high and the need for learning life skills for positive (rather than negative) outlets to manage these experiences is great.

The main challenge faced by Predisan in carrying out the desired drug prevention activities is a lack of the human resources necessary to implement their curriculum in schools in a dynamic, engaging way. That’s where we come in. Having completed a fortnight’s training, over the next eight weeks we will be raising awareness, running workshops for young people and developing resources for teachers to use in primary and secondary schools. We will also be developing the infrastructure for a 1km running track at the CEREPA site, which a cycle of volunteers after us will complete.

This blog is where you can track our progress, make suggestions, and generally show your support for our work. It’s going to be challenging, but we are a strong, dedicated group and it is exciting to be part of such a worthwhile project.

Written by ICS volunteer, Lucy Proudlock