Supporting Resilient Homes in Hurricane-Affected Communities in Honduras: Gladys’ Story - GOAL Global Skip to content

Supporting Resilient Homes in Hurricane-Affected Communities in Honduras: Gladys’ Story


January 24, 2024 • 2 min read

In Northern Honduras, along one of the most powerful rivers in the country, lies the Sula Valley – an area that is highly susceptible to climate-related disasters, particularly floods. In 2020, two back-to-back hurricanes, storms ETA and IOTA, devastated the region and caused significant damage to communities. Despite reconstruction efforts, heavy rains continue to trigger flooding in the area.

Supporting Resilient Homes

Gladys Hércules lives in the Alfonzo Lacayo neighbourhoods in the Rivera Hernandez district of San Pedro Sula. Despite losing everything to the hurricanes, Gladys persevered and continued her business of selling hojuelas (a flaky sweet dessert). She used her profits to buy a new home, but it was in poor condition. After the house was damaged by the hurricanes, the previous owners chose to sell it instead of completing any of the necessary repairs. It’s important to have structurally resilient homes in regions that are especially vulnerable to climate change in order to protect lives and livelihoods.

Then, Gladys received a devastating diagnosis of lung cancer. She was forced to stop selling her hojuelas and was plunged into debt to afford her treatment. “I couldn’t work for six months, and I had to go into debt to afford the medications,” she recalls sadly. “Thanks to the help of my children and sons-in-law, I was able to acquire these medications.”

During those difficult six months, Gladys not only faced a challenging medical diagnosis. She also couldn’t afford to continue paying for her new home or carry out the much-needed repairs. Her home did not have a functioning roof, leaving Gladys exposed to the elements. She relied on the goodwill and solidarity of her family and community to lighten the burden, but she was still extremely vulnerable. If another disaster struck, Gladys wouldn’t be able to cope.

Gladys in her home, where she makes and sells hojuelas

Rehabilitating communities

Her life took an unexpected turn when she was selected as a beneficiary under the Barrio Resiliente (Resilient Neighbourhoods) project, funded by USAID BHA. The project aims to increase the resilience of vulnerable neighbourhoods in high-risk areas of the Sula Valley through home improvements and the provision of disaster risk management training.

Gladys was provided with the necessary materials to repair her roof. “When they came to find me to be a part of the project, I said, ‘Thank you, Lord, because my blessing has come,’ and when I saw my roof for the first time, I said, ‘Thank you, God, because you sent it to me.”

Several of Gladys’ neighbours also received assistance in rehabilitating their damaged home, which significantly improved their safety and living standards. And they received more than just a secure roof. Gladys and her neighbours also received training in disaster risk management and best practices for the maintenance of their homes. This knowledge strengthened Gladys’ individual and community resilience.  Now, she feels prepared for any hardships that come her way. Gladys continues to make hojuelas and shares her skills with her granddaughter, who dreams of following in her grandmother’s footsteps someday.

Gladys standing in front of her home, after receiving the materials for a new roof from GOAL