In rural Honduras, the vast majority of the population is either illiterate, or has received extremely nominal education in reading and writing. This is a result of the fact that in recent history, the children of the Cangrejal Valley have only attended, on average, 2.5 years of primary school. While this has slowly improved as more primary schools are built throughout the region, communities still face a myriad of challenges that weaken the local education system, including a lack of future opportunities. Before Un Mundo's High School Project was initiated, children who made it through primary school would have had no additional opportunities to advance their education, further their careers, or pull themselves from the grip of poverty.
The High School Project's goal is to empower community members through advanced education, inspiring agency and self-sufficiency. This initiative has revolved around the construction of the first public high school in the Cangrejal Valley, a school that now offers vocational training in carpentry, electricity, metallurgy, and computer technology to the 7th through the 12th grades. Beginning with the expansion of the existing school, which offered only 2 grades, had only 3 classrooms and approximately 30 students, the new high school, called Instituto Oficial Polivalente Elvira Pineda Madrid, has 8 classrooms, a school library, a large computer classroom, workshops for electricity, metallurgy, and carpentry, a basketball court and administrative offices. The school is now capable of enrolling nearly 200 students from the Cangrejal Valley, and from the nearby city of La Ceiba.
Before the opening of the original public high school in 2008, only 1% of the population in El Pital had received a high school degree. Now, each individual that attends the high school significantly increases his or her access to future educational opportunities, such as college, and employment. Gaining access to continuing education will not only provide access to jobs and stimulate job creation for students, but the school itself will also be a new source of jobs for local educators and students interested in pursuing teaching careers.