A project supported by mission partners in Honduras proved a literal lifeline for one young mother struggling with mental health
When life got too much for Katerin, trusted mission workers were there – and are now mentoring her back towards a thriving life.
TALANGA, HONDURAS – Katerin sits at one of the corner tables of Cafe Alas, sipping from her fruit smoothie as she chats with her mentor, Lorena. Katerin has had a difficult last few weeks, but on this Tuesday afternoon she can just be a typical 17-year-old hanging out in a coffee shop.
Cafe Alas is a place Katerin can relax, enjoying the cosy environment complete with comfy sofas, greenery and calming instrumental music. Here she shares with Lorena the joys and challenges of her life during their weekly hour together as part of the Proyecto Alas mentoring programme.
One month ago, Katerin was hospitalised after she attempted suicide by overdosing on some medication.
The pressures of being a single mother of a nine-month-old, helping her mother run their home as the only daughter and taking classes at the weekend to complete school grade 8 had just felt like too much.
But because of the good relationship between Proyecto Alas and the family, Katerin’s mother called the directors for help, and an ambulance was arranged to rush an unconscious Katerin to hospital – just in time to save her life. Thankfully, Katerin is now on the road to recovery.
Mental health is still a fairly taboo subject in Honduras, but thanks to Proyecto Alas, Katerin is able to receive the support she needs.
In addition to her weekly hour with her mentor, she has regular sessions with the project’s psychologist, who is helping her process her emotions and learn strategies for resilience.
She is also starting to work as a part time cleaner in the coffee shop, which not only provides her a steady income to support her baby’s needs, but also a stable routine to support her own health.
A safe place for the community
Cafe Alas has become a popular place for Katerin and other children and young people who are part of the Proyecto Alas mentoring programme, as it is conveniently located in the same building. The coffee shop was reopened in this new location in April 2022, with the main objective of earning funds to help support the programmes of Proyecto Alas with at-risk children and youth like Katerin.
The coffee shop currently provides part-time employment for seven young people, and is proving to be a “safe place”, not only for kids and their mentors, but for the wider community as well.