Canadian Peacemakers International was formed in 1997 in Edmonton by a small group of Mennonites concerned about causes of violence in Central America. When Hurricane Mitch killed 5,600 Hondurans and caused nearly $1 billion in damage the next year, CPI's focus shifted to building homes, micro-loans and help secure basic health and dental care in the San Pedro Sula area.
Our two major projects – Village Building and Computer-Assisted Learning – continue that work.
Village Building: In June 2009, we built our first village on a 23-acre parcel of land. Eleven partner families helped build their own homes. They pay 15-year mortgages with the pineapples they grow on common land. Each family also has their own plot to feed their family and earn an extra income. The Colonia Amor y Esparanza -- literally "colony of love and hope" -- is a model CPI is replicating in a new village. Thanks to a partnership with Habitat for Humanity, the village is already fully-funded and will be completed in 2014. Mortgage repayments will be used to fund future villages.
Computer-Assisted Learning (CAL): CPI began its CAL program after the Honduran government was brought down in a coup in early 2009, effectively ending an attempt to partner with the government to help bring education to rural Hondurans who couldn't otherwise afford it.
CPI board members decided to raise $60,000 to start CAL without government help. Our program has since taken off, mostly through word of mouth. Villages began approaching CPI to help set up satellite campuses.
We now have over 400 students studying at 15 locations within a four-hour radius. In Dec. 2012, 186 Hondurans celebrated their graduation of a single grade. Students range between 12 and 54-years-old. Two-thirds are female. Many are mothers and grandmothers.
A lot of other exciting things are happening with CAL. Our curriculum now includes primary grades, junior high and GED (high school equivalency). We’re hoping to expand towards life-long learning, accounting, and basic medical skills. Through a partnership with Memory Express Inc., CPI will soon begin importing computers donated across western Canada, into Honduras. This will greatly accelerate our expansion capabilities. We recently built a self-contained school using a 13-metre shipping container, which we’ve placed in Las Delicias, a remote mountain community. Over 80 students attend there each week. The cost of the complete structure was under $9,000.