TED Conversations

Oie Osterkamp

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What ideas do you have that can help us at Sharefish break the cycle of poverty in remote villages of Honduras through education?

We started Sharefish (www.sharefish.org) two years ago in two remote villages in Honduras. So far we have 71 children in a conditional cash transfer sponsorship program who are now in school instead of selling food in the streets or gleaning sugar cane in the fields. We have also built two libraries and have found that the people who know how to read are teaching those who want to learn how to read now that they have the resources to do it. I would welcome any ideas you have to help us in our quest to work with these wonderful hard working people to break the cycle of poverty in these and other remote villages.

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  • Dec 11 2011: Are there other organizations in Honduras that have tried to do something similar successfully? I've always wondered if an existing model could be replicated in a similar village. Would you consider joining forces with another organization, leveraging each other's strength in a joint project? From what I saw on your website, you have access to a wider audience than most local organizations in Honduras. If you could find other organizations that are making a difference in reducing poverty through education, then you could help to increase the scale or expand the reach of their projects by working together.
  • Dec 1 2011: I don't think any cycle can be broken unless individuals can develop some kind of material productivity. Advancing the welfare of society is always linked ot work endeavours and economic viability. I just recently bought a Kyber brand sherpa winter hat for myself. It was made by a village in Nepal and sold through Canadian Tire, a national store. It cost $25 which was quite steep for an everyday winter toque, but given the social relevance of the product, I was willing to spend a few dollars more than I normally would. Is there any marketable potential for selling local items or services that could become the seeds of an ongoing economy? Is there a possibility of expanding computer and other technology access? I would certainly want to explore government and charitable agencies both within and without the country tio see if there is some way to donate obsolete technology to your programs. Some church organisations in Edmonton have., in the past, set up an education bus where church members would actually drive a minivan loaded with books and other educational resources, all the way from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, to places in Central America. And of course, the education that you have already established will be a key foundation for generational improvement. You are to be congratulated for the work you are doing.
  • Nov 19 2011: create some hands on learning labs that relate directly to improving the immediate physical and social environment of the learnerscombined with a blended curriculum format.
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      Nov 22 2011: Perfect. We are already working on this. Thanks for the affirmation.
  • Nov 17 2011: Oie
    I looked at your website and I think you have some wonderful goals. I have stated this many times in other conversations, but I feel the real key aspect is to seek to improve the quality of life not just the quantity of life for people. I think simply put it means: adequate shelter for the environment; sufficient food; safe drinking water; and access to healthcare. I think from what I see you are doing some of that. Increasing income while noble, does not necessarily mean "a better life."

    Rural villages in Central America actually do function. There should be ways to make their quality of life increase. I do not know enough about these particular villages to speak to specifics, but I would love to hear more about them.
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      Nov 22 2011: I would love to discuss this more with you. Email me at oie@sharefish.org. We have set the trip dates for 2012 and would love to have you join us on one if you are interested.
  • Nov 17 2011: There are multiple aspects of the issue you are dealing with. The first one is access to education and knowledge. That can be accomplished with one computer and multiple monitors. Internet access is not required. That might be an excellent first investment for many reasons....one being ideas, another individual films of a child, shown at a church in the USA or Europe would result in donations, farming information, medical self help, etc. With access even if not on site you can then both sell products and solicit business. As for what products to create there are ideas and instructions all over the Internet. Resources are the key....one being natural and the other human for producing a product. In looking at the landscape with Google Earth the country appears to have some set of resources....land for animal husbandry, a climate for growing specialized items perhaps, etc. In a prior life I used to build and run factories in 3rd world low labor market countries. The only difference was I brought the product. In your case you need to invent a product that has either or both local and foreign market possibilities. My ideas on that subject are endless but without knowing what is available in terms of resources I can't comment. Make that information known and I will respond. Suggestions on products, designs, markets, contacts, etc. SEmail me if you can get the people's support . More than happy to help. Tangoblue@netscape.net
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      Nov 22 2011: Thanks for the insight Stephen. This is very helpful. I hope to stay in contact with you as we progress.