This image/photograph is owned by Juan Carlos the photographer and is protected by copyright as well as all laws related to intellectual property rights. Unless permitted under written permission or licensed by Juan Carlos

Students arriving to the Basic Educational Center Herman Herrera Molina, a school located in a gang controlled and dangerous community of Los Pinos in Tegucigalpa, each Saturday kids take part of the various activities the program Guardianes de la Patria (Guardians of the Nation) offers and each one has to wear the shirt with the program's logo.

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Students arriving to the Basic Educational Center Herman Herrera Molina, a school located in a gang controlled and dangerous community of Los Pinos in Tegucigalpa, each Saturday kids take part of the various activities the program Guardianes de la Patria (Guardians of the Nation) offers and each one has to wear the shirt with the program's logo.

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BuzzFeed News


FOR MANY KIDS IN HONDURAS, THE OPTIONS ARE: FLEE, JOIN THE GANG, OR TRAIN WITH THE MILITARY


Text by Karla Zabludovsky


TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras — Dozens of young recruits stood in line, timing their punches and kicks as their trainer called out commands. A few feet away, two of them dropped to the floor to do push-ups. A soldier in full camouflage stood off to the side observing the scene, his hand resting casually on the magazine of his M16 rifle.


But this was no military exercise.


Watching on from the bleachers, a group of young mothers took pictures as their children sweated their way through the karate class. After being put through their paces, the 9- and 10-year-old girls and boys stood in line on the school’s main patio to pick up pancakes and hot chocolate. Nearby, several colonels and church leaders chatted among themselves.


The children are among almost 30,000 taking part in a controversial program in Honduras known as the Guardianes de la Patria — Guardians of the Homeland — sponsored and run by the country’s armed forces, with support from the Catholic and evangelical churches.


Read more here

This image/photograph is owned by Juan Carlos the photographer and is protected by copyright as well as all laws related to intellectual property rights. Unless permitted under written permission or licensed by Juan Carlos

A military police officer patrolling the streets of Tegucigalpa.

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A military police officer patrolling the streets of Tegucigalpa.

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This image/photograph is owned by Juan Carlos the photographer and is protected by copyright as well as all laws related to intellectual property rights. Unless permitted under written permission or licensed by Juan Carlos

(left to right) Danny 16 yrs old, Robin 15 yrs old, Roberto 14 yrs old, Franklin 27 yrs old and Douglas 14 yrs old, residents of the 3 de Mayo community talk about the current repression from the government ant the abuse the the police and military toward them only because they come from a low income community know be dangerous and gang controlle

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(left to right) Danny 16 yrs old, Robin 15 yrs old, Roberto 14 yrs old, Franklin 27 yrs old and Douglas 14 yrs old, residents of the 3 de Mayo community talk about the current repression from the government ant the abuse the the police and military toward them only because they come from a low income community know be dangerous and gang controlle

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This image/photograph is owned by Juan Carlos the photographer and is protected by copyright as well as all laws related to intellectual property rights. Unless permitted under written permission or licensed by Juan Carlos

Kids take part in the Guardians of the Homeland program in Tegucigalpa.

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Kids take part in the Guardians of the Homeland program in Tegucigalpa.

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This image/photograph is owned by Juan Carlos the photographer and is protected by copyright as well as all laws related to intellectual property rights. Unless permitted under written permission or licensed by Juan Carlos

Children wait for the activities to start as part of the Guardians of the Homeland program.

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Children wait for the activities to start as part of the Guardians of the Homeland program.

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This image/photograph is owned by Juan Carlos the photographer and is protected by copyright as well as all laws related to intellectual property rights. Unless permitted under written permission or licensed by Juan Carlos

Students being supervised by a soldier during a workshop promoting values as part of the program Guardianes de la Patria (Guardians of the Nation) inside the Basic Educational Center Herman Herrera Molina, a school located in a gang controlled and dangerous community of Los Pinos in Tegucigalpa.

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Students being supervised by a soldier during a workshop promoting values as part of the program Guardianes de la Patria (Guardians of the Nation) inside the Basic Educational Center Herman Herrera Molina, a school located in a gang controlled and dangerous community of Los Pinos in Tegucigalpa.

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This image/photograph is owned by Juan Carlos the photographer and is protected by copyright as well as all laws related to intellectual property rights. Unless permitted under written permission or licensed by Juan Carlos

Dany Garcia (center) takes part in the program every Saturda

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Dany Garcia (center) takes part in the program every Saturda

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This image/photograph is owned by Juan Carlos the photographer and is protected by copyright as well as all laws related to intellectual property rights. Unless permitted under written permission or licensed by Juan Carlos

Dany Garcia shows his grades and math homework.

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Dany Garcia shows his grades and math homework.

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This image/photograph is owned by Juan Carlos the photographer and is protected by copyright as well as all laws related to intellectual property rights. Unless permitted under written permission or licensed by Juan Carlos

Military police patrol the streets in downtown Tegucigalpa.

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Military police patrol the streets in downtown Tegucigalpa.

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This image/photograph is owned by Juan Carlos the photographer and is protected by copyright as well as all laws related to intellectual property rights. Unless permitted under written permission or licensed by Juan Carlos

Gang violence is rife in some of the poorer neighborhoods, which many residents say have been neglected by the current government.

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Gang violence is rife in some of the poorer neighborhoods, which many residents say have been neglected by the current government.

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