How Does Education Affect Economic Development?
In order for any country to have a strong economy, it must have access to an educated workforce. In many developing countries the accessibility of female education is low, meaning that a large portion of the population is not able to contribute to economic growth. In many parts of the world where resources are scarce, it is very hard for young girls to receive an education.
With a deep lack of resources, it becomes a necessity to allocate those resources strategically. This often means that crucial services become inaccessible to many, services such as education and medical care. This is all too often the case when it comes to educational opportunities – female education in particular, in developing countries. This means that many young girls in Honduras cannot go to school.
According to a study done of Honduras recently by the USAID, “gender constraints also limit opportunities, particularly in subjects studied, employment pathways, and connectivity. Girls and boys, women and men are affected by prevailing social norms and gender stereotypes that shape choices and decision-making from an early age. This impacts school performance and perceived options in choices of study and occupational segmentation.”
Many cultures prioritize the education of boys over girls. According to UNESCO “ women account for two-thirds of the 750 million adults without basic literacy skills.
Poverty, geographical isolation, minority status, disability, early marriage and pregnancy, gender-based violence, and traditional attitudes about the status and role of women, are among the many obstacles that stand in the way of women and girls fully exercising their right to participate in, complete and benefit from education.”1
This situation is a commonality amongst boys and girls in Honduras. While young boys go to class, girls of the same ages stay at home. But keeping girls in their households impacts the economy of Honduras because there is a relationship between education and economics.
The Relationship Between Education and the Economy
It is easy to sign children up for school when education is accessible. When kids have the privilege of receiving an education, they can positively influence their communities, which is not to say that children are not positive lights in society without education.
The point is that education gives children access to more opportunities, which positively impacts society as a whole. While every child in a perfect world would receive a proper education, the reality is that many young girls in Honduras do not have the privilege of going to school. With females attributing to 51.7% of the population – this can truly have a negative impact on the economy overtime.
It is essential to recognize that the community impacts the girls have as well. In places where crime rates are high, and violence is aplenty, children are regularly placed in harm’s way, like in many Honduran cities. As such, poverty poses a threat to a young girl’s access to education in Honduras. The global pandemic along with two hurricanes in Honduras have made this siutation even more dire. With little to no access to the internet during a time when all schools were limited to online learning, the dropout rate has risen dramatically.
On top of poverty and an overall lack of resources that stem from an impoverished environment, the pressure to stay home and help her parents is also factor that can keep a girl away from the classroom. Plus, transportation is not always something a young girl in Honduras will have access to, making it difficult for her to get to school safely, even if she was already enrolled.
With fewer girls in school, there are not as many women in positions of power, making decisions that impact the economy. Without education as a catalyst for a life filled with success and opportunities, women cannot contribute to the economy and make economic decisions, leaving the compelling perspective that women can offer.
How No Education Impacts Communities in Honduras According To OLR Founder Diana Dillenberger Frade
Dr. Diana Dillenberger Frade is the founder and president of the Our Little Roses Ministries in San Pedro Sula, Honduras. In 2018 she compiled her thoughts on how life has changed in Honduras in the past fifty years in preparation for the ministry’s 30th Anniversary.
More specifically, Diana has been living in Honduras for the past forty-eight or so years, and she has witnessed quite a lot of change while living there. Today, as Our Little Roses enters the 35th year of ministry in Honduras, we would like to share a few quotes from Diana that explain in her own words how poverty, education, and the economy are interconnected.
- “Poverty breeds desperation. 53% of the population is comprised of single mothers, of whom the majority live in poverty. Over the years, Hondurans have become desperate, looking for a better future. Just as in the late 80s and the 90s when families began leaving the rural areas, Hondurans once again are searching for job opportunities, education, and economic means for themselves and their children. Without job opportunities and hope, they choose to move North.”
- “I was acutely aware that there were many Homes and Institutions that cared for boys because I had visited one in Tegucigalpa, and I was very impressed that there was a wonderful opportunity to bring a new life to these children that had once been so vulnerable, sniffing glue, sleeping and begging in the streets. However, when I asked some juvenile authorities what happened to little girls who were abandoned and abused, the answer was that there were no Homes for girls. To rescue them, they had to be sent to the Women’s Penitentiary or a reformatory because nobody wanted to care for girls.”
- “We know this because we have the statistics to prove success through education. 95% of the girls that have come through OLR in the past 30 years have graduated from high school instead of 7% in general for Honduras. 20% have graduated from the university instead of 6% in general for Honduras. Five of the University graduates have master’s degrees. One is a Cosmetic Dentist specializing in implants, has a private clinic, and opened a dental lab that she runs herself. Another is a Veteran and teaches at the National University. How did this happen? It happened only through a concentrated effort and focus on providing the best education possible for each girl according to her individual abilities and interests.”
What is Education Like For Girls in Poverty?
Like Diana mentioned, education for girls living in poverty, especially in Honduras, is not always a priority. Unfortunately, women are not viewed as being equal to men by everyone. There are still some people who believe women are less valuable.
As a result of that mindset, girls in Honduras are not always prioritized for school, education, or learning-based opportunities. But with non-profit organizations like Our Little Roses, the distance between education and impoverished environments is becoming smaller and smaller.
At Our Little Roses, education is the priority – every girl is given the chance to go to school, to learn English, as well as many extracurricular subjects like dance, drama, and even woodworking. Our girls are given access to STEM-based classes including working with drones and robotics.
Creating an environment where the girls at Our Little Roses see first-hand what a difference it makes when education becomes a priority is crucial. That is why we often have our graduates visit and mentor the girls at the home. It is an incredible inspiration for the girls currently living at Our Little Roses to see and hear stories of someone just like them – someone who started life in a situation where education was out of reach but through the Our Little Roses program, broke through those barriers.
How To Help Our Little Roses Provide Girls in Honduras With an Education
There are many ways to join Our Little Roses in our mission to help girls in Honduras – empowering them through education, safety, and love.. More specifically, you are welcome to play a role in making education more accessible to children living in poverty. From sponsorships, scholarships, and donations to devoting your time through volunteer hours, contributions of all kinds are appreciated. If you have any questions about how you can get involved with Our Little Roses, do not hesitate to reach out!