Punto Joven Offers a Tool for Hondurans to Look at Themselves and To Reflect on the Type of Society They Want to Build.
Punto Joven was born 5 years ago as a local news channel in the department of El Paraiso, Honduras. The cast emerged through local television and a year and 4 months ago, they decided to film spoken reflections through YouTube. The first motivational stories were a minute and a half, to two minutes long earning them 10,000 followers. They were well-received and so Punto Joven decided to expand the reflections into stories that have been shared widely in Honduras and throughout Latin America, drawing in millions of views. Audiences who watch the videos credit Punto Joven with reflecting their lives’ troubles and offering inspiring solutions to overcome them.
“The stories are anecdotes based on things that have happened to us personally in Honduras, or life circumstances experienced by people that we know,” shared the creator of Punto Joven.
The cast is led by Jorge Medina, a popular Honduran Youtuber and a close group of friends. Punto Joven joined forces to inspire social change in Honduras through the use of YouTube film.
“We want to create the kind of reflections that can edify life, that can build people up through a message that touches their hearts and leads them to do the right things,” shared Medina.
In the video below, Punto Joven tackles the difficulties faced by a single mother who cannot afford to buy shoes for her son’s school uniform.
Latina Republic interviewed Jorge Medina to seek his analysis of Honduras’ most urgent social problems and how they inspired him to use social media to lead change.
“I was born in Honduras. When I was three years old, my mother took me to Nicaragua where I lived in extreme poverty until the age of 16 years. I was raised by a single mother. At 19, I returned to Honduras, the country where I was born. I started working as a television cameraman, then I became a social communicator, and later the Youtubero that I am today.
The success we have experienced through Punto Joven has been incredible.
These videos are reflections of social problems we face in our country. There is no need to go to Google or copy ideas to make a production.
We just open our eyes and tune into our surroundings.
What is happening with our friends, neighbors, and family?
From that analysis, we select stories that we dramatize in videos. Our goal is to impact people’s hearts,” told Medina.
“We simply focus on reality. What you see in the stories, happens in this country of Honduras. ”
Latina Republic: What is the biggest problem in Honduras?
“The biggest problem in my country, Honduras, is violence. People have grown desensitized to the pain of others and have lost respect for people’s lives. Every day in my country people are killed in cold blood. The only way to eradicate this horror that has destroyed our nation is to change people’s hearts, and move them so they can change their lives.
Our videos talk a lot about changing people’s bad habits. The message is to improve negative habits in Honduran society.”
Latina Republic: How do Hondurans view girls and women in their society?
“In our country, women are seen as sexual objects. Unfortunately, the problem starts at home. The high index of teen pregnancies in this country is terrible. Of every ten pregnancies, 5 are by young women between 15 and 18 years of age. There is no talk of contraceptive methods and this void in information damages homes and young women’s lives.”
In the video below, titled, “He Mistreated His Wife and Look How He Ended Up,” Punto Joven showcases the damaging effects of machismo on women, on men and on marriage.
“We want parents, husbands, boyfriends, employers to reconsider how we view girls and women in Honduran society.”
In Punto Joven’s video: “Una Mujer También Puede Hacerlo,” A Woman Can Also Do It, viewers see the difficulties young women face when trying to find technical work.
“Our country has a great number of social problems. The root of many alarming situations can be found in the Honduran home; in the relationships among family members and the ideas and attitudes surrounding those. In a country where we face corruption and few opportunities, we have to work from our own homes to make a better country. Through our videos, we want to reach and inspire the family.”
Latina Republic: What is the State of Entrepreneurship in Honduras?
“Entrepreneurship in this country is very difficult. When you start a business, you have to purchase an expensive operational permit that can cost you between 40 and 50 thousand lempiras; an unreachable step for most entrepreneurs in our country. Most business owners cannot create a formally constituted business, because of fees, taxes and costs. That is why you can find many street vendors and traveling businesses working without permits.
The person who manages to start a business, a clothing store, or shoe store, for example, pays a surprising amount of taxes to the government. They also have to pay employees, electricity, the business space and they have to reinvest in merchandise. So, the possibility of growing as an entrepreneur here is very difficult. Most entrepreneurs I know, work to survive. There is a yearning to thrive and prosper, but countless barriers to reach success.”
Latina Republic: Why do Hondurans migrate to the United States and Spain?
“There are many reasons why Hondurans leave. Failed business projects and failed entrepreneurs end up closing their businesses and are forced to compete for jobs in saturated factories. Being turned down for jobs, the person worries about how to support their wife and children. Many go to bed without dinner. They get up, and there is nothing in the kitchen for breakfast. They find no other option but to leave the country.”
“The reason that drives them to leave–to feed and provide for their families–ends up breaking the family bond.”
Sometimes fathers are left behind to take care of a child with a disability. They face many difficulties as captured in this video by Punto Joven, “He was late to work and his boss cried when he learned why.” This video reached over 3.3 million viewers.
“Hondurans typically leave to the United States or to Spain. They migrate (many of them, illegally) leaving a partner and children behind. These homes are broken without the presence of a mother or the presence of a father, and the young people left behind by a parent migrating for work, become very vulnerable members of our society.
Many of them end up in the street. Girls end up in the street, pregnant at an early age, or on drugs.
In the case of teenagers in our country, they migrate for other reasons. These are young people who, in one way or another, fell into small criminal groups that threaten their lives, and so they end up migrating to stay alive.”
Extortion-A terrible Honduran problem
“Honduras is also affected by a terrible social-ill, extortion. If you have a business, and you are doing well, the gangs arrive and tell you that you have to give them a weekly amount of money or they will annihilate you and your family. Faced with this fear, businessmen in this country yield to extortion, pay a weekly fee to the maras and operate their businesses, giving a portion of their earnings to the maras in exchange for their lives.
Believe me, it is terrible to see how a gang member, dressed in a business suit and tie, arrives at an owner’s business to collect their weekly extortion fees.
The business owner who refuses to pay, will find their employees killed, family members missing, or worse. This system creates an environment of fear. There are many entrepreneurs who have closed their businesses and left the country to put an end to the extortion that they live with every day.
Unfortunately, whether they migrate out of need or to experience a change, the painful consequence is the same:
“Migration destroys the family bond. Of ten families that break up as a result of migration, five may manage to sustain their bond and wait for their partner to return. But the other 5, they will look for another partner, start new families and break up the original homes.”
Latina Republic: What is the state of Nursing Homes and Medical Access in Honduras?
“Nursing homes are completely saturated. Most poor people are forced to take their grandparents or their parents to a facility for their care when they are old. Honduran families that have the means, take personal care of their parents until the last days of their lives.
Sometimes, low-income Hondurans migrate looking for the means to take care of their elderly parents.
A large number of seniors in Honduras live off remittances sent from Spain or the United States. These are sent by the elder’s children, or grandchildren who migrate to support them.”
In the video, Hice cuentas con mis padres-I Settled my Debts with my Parents, Punto Joven stresses the importance of loving and supporting elder parents, no matter what.
“The senior population in Honduras suffers due to lack of medication in hospitals. In the department where I live, we are a total of 500,000 inhabitants. There are only 3 ambulances for everyone. My state consists of 18 towns, and 18 municipalities.
Medicine in our country is very scarce.
If you have a grandparent who needs to be transferred from a regional hospital to the capital you will have to pay for the ambulance, the driver and the fuel. If all 3 ambulances are taken, you will have to pay for a private ambulance.
It costs between $100 and $150 dollars to take a sick person from their home to the capital.
Lack of affordable medical transportation for seniors is one of the reasons for preventable deaths.
If you get sick and go to a hospital, you will receive acetaminophen, or an aspirin. But if medication is required you will have to pay for it yourself.
I have taken sick friends to the hospital and I have had to pay for the water to take the pill.
Sometimes there is no water in the hospital.
In cases of injuries, you may have to buy the gauze for a wound, and pay for the iodine that the hospital applies.
You have to pay for pills; you have to pay for pints of blood in the hospital where you seek treatments.
The cost for a blood transfer is $10 and there are families that can’t afford to pay.
Through our Punto Joven crew, we work a lot with hospitals. We deliver breakfasts to the family members that wait for a loved one to recover, because many of them will sleep on the hospital floor and skip meals to pay for their relative’s treatment.”
Latina Republic: Why are hospitals in such dire state?
“Honduras is shackled by corruption. Aid intended for hospitals, health centers, and medication has been stolen by politicians. The wave of corruption in this country is shocking.
The low economic development in Honduras is due to the high corruption rates. There is no politician in this country that Hondurans trust.
People have decided not to exercise their right to vote because there is no one to trust. There is no faith in the political system. ”
Latina Republic: What is the university system like?
“As for the university, I will tell you. There is only one free university, The National Autonomous University of Honduras. In this university there are a few career paths available, not all. In order to enter this university, you have to go through an admission exam and a small percentage make it. The majority who take the exam will not pass and will have to pay for a private university if they wish to continue studying. Due to lack of financial resources many will be unable to continue. The public university is so saturated that the government gives a cumbersome admissions test that few students pass.
In the video, “He was late to class but earned a scholarship,” Punto Joven praises the effort of a full-time worker who goes to class after a long day at work.
Punto Joven uses Youtube to inspire viewers to change what is no longer working in their lives. In a country faced with many challenge, the crew creates uplifting films.
“We can’t lose hope. We really want to help others, and this is our way of contributing to a better Honduras,” shared Jorge Medina.