Skape muligheter sammen (SMS), Creating opportunities together in English, is a Norwegian-Honduran voluntary, non-profit organization, founded in Norway in 2014 by Elisabeth Leidland and Kirsten and Øyvind K. Leidland. In 2016 Marie L. Tyldum joined us. We have all shorter and/or longer stays in Honduras. This is the background for our commitment to work with children and youth in Honduras.
Elisabeth (leader) has through her studies and work shown a big commitment to children and youth in Honduras as to give the, a voice in their society. After visiting Honduras in 2006, she chose to study a bachelor's degree in geography. During her study she had a seven month of to work in Honduras in 2010. After this, Elisabeth chose to take a Master degree in International Development Studies. Her master thesis dealt with the social situation of children and youth in Honduras, with the purpose to give them a voice. Today, Elisabeth has taken this focus further with her work as a PhD fellow at Nord University. More specifically, her doctoral work focuses on how emotions and gender in the Honduran culture affect children and adolescents violent life choices.
Kirsten (deputy leader) moved with the family, husband and three children to Honduras in September 2014 and stayed until June 2016. During this period she worked actively with health and social challenges related to children and youth. Kirsten is an educated social educator with further education among other in nutrition and special education. She currently works in a psychiatric institution in Norway. This background has resulted in her focus on the children's challenging social starting point, which is SMSs constantly focus.
Marie (secretary) visited Honduras for the first time in 2015. She has a bachelor of nutrition physiology and sports, in addition to education as a personal trainer and in physical therapy. She now study to become a nurse. Marie works in health care services, and with her background and commitment to the need of individuals, she has a big focus on who to meet the individual need of beneficiaries.
Øyvind (treasurer) went to Honduras in 2006 with the AFS (American Field Service) organization. The starting point was a long interest in Latin America and development issues. He traveled back in 2008 on vacation, and from 2014 to 2016 he he lived with his wife and three children in Honduras. Øyvind have a master's degree in organic chemistry and is an educated teacher, with further education in Spanish and international relations. However, his interest in development issues never disappeared, so he is now studying for a bachelor's degree in development studies, while working as a teacher. This background means that Øyvind has a focus on both the development of the Honduran community and is continuously working to promote the potential of the individual volunteer and beneficiary.
Lili (local coordinator) is simply a wonderful person, with a genuine desire to help the individual who she encounter. Throughout her life she has been working for others, despite the fact that most people in the western world would think that she had also been worthy of help. Lili is an educated teacher and helped open a primary school in her local community. Throughout her life Lili has worked with street children, at orphanages and with other disadvantaged children and young people. Lili became a part of SMS in 2015 and has responsibility for the free food program and beneficiaries that receive support for primary and secondary school. She follow up on each beneficiary and guardian in the free food program and among recipients of study support.
Saralee (local coordinator) is responsible for administration and social development. She is in her last year of a four-year study in administration, and has been involved as a volunteer in SMS since 2016. With her background and work capacity, Saralee is important in the work of getting our work out to more people.
Josue (legal representative in Honduras and local coordinator) has responsibilities for lectures, voluntary groups and projects. This means that he has all the communication with public bodies in Honduras, which, to say the least, demand a HIGH level of patient. He has worked throughout his adult life with various national and international organizations. In Honduras it is very important for an organization to have a known name. This ensures a level of security and it opens doors. With his background, Josue makes a huge effort, and among other things he has several volunteer groups working for SMS, which collects resources in the local community and distributes this to more needy. Josue has worked among other things as a teacher (without pay in public school), and is currently studying law. Josue joined the SMS from the summer of 2015.
With the exception of some compensation for the work with the free food program (Lili), all work is voluntary in SMS. It is not common practice that Hondurans work voluntarily for international organizations. This is something we are very proud and humble to have. SMS has the privilege of having a group that is genuinely interested and feel an ownership to the mission of the organization.
SMS is lucky to have many volunteers, all beneficiaries are basically volunteers. We mention those above because they have a formal responsibility in the organisation.
WHAT DO WE WANT AND WHY...
Our vision is to create possibilities with children and youth in Honduras, for a future where the individual can contribute positively in their own life and the local community as a whole.
Experience has shown us the positive powers found in children and youth, despite the hopelessness they can feel by being born in one of the poorest and most violent and corrupt countries in the world. Even with an extra challenging start to life, they are like children and youth elsewhere, born with enormous inherent capacity to contribute positively and constructively in the right circumstances. Unfortunately, the Honduran community does not provide safe framework and inclusion for children and youth in the society. SMS therefore wishes to improve the framework for children and youth through different funding schemes, information and guidance. The goal is that children, youth and their families will be able to manage their daily challenges on their own.
With direct financial support, there is a requirement for cooperation between SMS, beneficiaries and their guardians. We do this in order for the community to take advantage of the work we do in a wider sense and show the individual what opportunities and choices it have and can take.
For the work to hace lasting impact, it depends on a long-term commitment to a concentrated geographical area of work. SMS therefore works mainly in and around Granadita in the municipality of La Ceiba and Roma in the municipality of Jutiapa, both of which are located in the county of Atlántida on the Caribbean coast of Honduras. Our focus is wide in relation to what we do, this in order to build trust and show and teach values in practice. In addition, it is important for us to reach the individual where it is, and this is best done by working widely in selected places.