Tag Archives: honduras

Welfare in the Wake of Disaster

Built in response to the devastation of Hurricane Mitch in Honduras more than twenty years ago, our affiliated project El Refugio Welfare Center continues to support children in the rural town of El Progreso to this day.

Yet despite the difficulties, local children who attend the El Refugio Welfare Center can rely on support from administrators — as well as their Children Incorporated sponsors — for a consistent supply of food, clothing and educational materials.

In 1998, Hurricane Mitch claimed thousands of lives, causing catastrophic flooding and landslides. It remains the second deadliest Atlantic hurricane on record, causing over 11,000 fatalities in Central America — 7,000 of those being in Honduras alone. The damage was so extensive that the Honduran president estimated that the storm set the nation’s economic development back 50 years.

Recovering after devastation

Over the last two decades, the progress of rebuilding homes and schools in El Progreso has been very slow. Residents still grapple with the aftershocks of homelessness, disease and heightened poverty.

Yet despite the difficulties, local children who attend the El Refugio Welfare Center can rely on support from administrators — as well as their Children Incorporated sponsors — for a consistent supply of food, clothing and educational materials.

A special thank-you

At our office in Richmond, Virginia, we often receive pictures and video updates from our volunteer coordinators about the impact that sponsorship has on children in our program. Sometimes, these personal communications from our affiliated projects are simply just a way to say “thank-you” to our sponsors for all that they do to help children in need.

Recently, our volunteer coordinator at El Refugio sent a short video of our sponsored children to thank us — as well our all of our supporters — for twenty-years of changing the lives of kids in Honduras. We at Children Incorporated are equally grateful that, thanks to our donors and supporters, we can continue to support kids at El Refugio for the next twenty years.

***

How do I sponsor a child in Honduras?

You can sponsor a child in Honduras in one of three ways: call our office at 1-800-538-5381 and speak with one of our staff members; email us at sponsorship@children-inc.org; or go online to our sponsorship portal, create an account, and search for a child who is available for sponsorship.

Room to Grow in Honduras

Nestled in northern Central America, Honduras was once home to several Mesoamerican peoples — most notably, the Maya. This ecologically diverse land — with its rainforests, cloud forests, savannas, mountain ranges and a barrier reef system off the northern coast — teems with life.  Its wealth of natural resources is equally impressive, including a variety of minable minerals as well as agricultural exports such as coffee, tropical fruit, sugar cane and lumber.

Moreover, Honduras’ growing textile industry serves an international market. The nation’s wealth of natural beauty and resources, however, belies the dire poverty in which its people live — Honduras holds the unfortunate distinction of being one of the poorest nations in Latin America.

This is due, in part, to its longstanding political instability, social strife and economic issues such as fluctuating export prices, rising inflation and unemployment. Other factors contributing to the nation’s high poverty rate include frequent natural disasters, disease and inadequate education, resulting in a high rate of illiteracy.

The town of Sigueatepeuque

In the quaint, rural town of Siguatepeque — where our affiliated project the Sigueatepeuque Primary School is located — unskilled workers like the parents of our sponsored children receive a wage of only a few dollars a day. The poorest residents subsist on a daily diet of beans and corn, which only propagates the widespread malnutrition among children.

In 1970, a local church group recognized the dire need for education among the town’s most impoverished children and established the Siguatepeque Primary School. Today, the school is run by the Lutheran Church and — along with our sponsorship program — provides for children’s most basic, immediate needs while offering a comfortable place in which to receive an education without concerns about overcrowded classrooms.

The issue of overcrowding

Children need and deserve room to grow and learn within their school setting, but parents who can’t afford school fees or tuition have no choice about what school their children attend.

Overcrowded classrooms are a problem in many public schools across the world. Overcrowding negatively affects students and teachers.

Teachers’ morale is low when their classrooms are overcrowded. They find their work environment to be stressful and have a hard time focusing on appropriate lesson planning and teaching techniques. Also, crowded rooms often mean that students can’t concentrate because of their proximity to classmates, meaning they miss valuable lessons because they are distracted by chatter.

Often, cramped classrooms lead to a drop in grades for students because they don’t receive one-on-one attention from instructors or have access to proper school supplies, textbooks or technologies that help with learning.

Sponsorship to the rescue

Children need and deserve room to grow and learn within their school setting, but parents who can’t afford school fees or tuition have no choice about what school their children attend.

Thanks to Children Incorporated sponsors, families do have a choice. Instead of sending their children to overcrowded public schools in Siguatepeque, they can send them to the Siguatepeque school where teachers can give special attention to students who already face plenty of challenges getting ahead in life.

With a lower attendance, a quality education can be guaranteed for some of the most underprivileged children in Honduras, giving them the opportunity they deserve to succeed.

***

How do I sponsor a child in Honduras?

You can sponsor a child in Honduras in one of three ways: call our office at 1-800-538-5381 and speak with one of our staff members; email us at sponsorship@children-inc.org; or go online to our sponsorship portal, create an account, and search for a child in Honduras that is available for sponsorship.

 

 

 

Excelling in San Pedro Sula

Honduras’s industrial center and second-largest city, San Pedro Sula, has a reputation for being dangerous. Deemed the “murder capital of the world” for almost a decade until 2016, crime and economic distress have led to the mass migration of Honduran minors seeking safety from gangs and drug-related violence.

But for those children who have no choice but to stay behind and face danger and violence, places such as our affiliated project the Maria Reyna Home offer a safe environment in which to grow up — and receive a quality education.

A home for neglected girls

Founded in 1942 as a girls’ orphanage, the Maria Reyna Home cares for orphaned, abandoned or neglected girls. Located in one of the most impoverished and most crime-ridden neighborhoods in San Pedro Sula, the Home offers a refuge from slum housing, hunger, disease, crime and pollution that are all-too-tragic realities in the city.

For those children who have no choice but to stay behind and face danger and violence, places such as our affiliated project the Maria Reyna Home offer a safe environment in which to grow up — and receive a quality education.

“At the Maria Reyna Home, children from some of the darkest districts of San Pedro Sula are accepted. They have suffered neglect, malnourishment and even abuse before they come to live at the Home,” explained our Director of International Programs Luis Bourdet.

While living at the Home and attending classes on the grounds, the Sisters of Mercy of the order of St. Vincent take care of the children every day. They provide a clean and adequate living space, nourishment, protection and most importantly — an education. And according to Luis, the girls do very well academically at Maria Reyna.

“The change of living conditions is so great that most students excel in school here, while they had a hard time before,” said Luis.

“The sisters provide the children with training in embroidering and baking so that they have a skill once they graduate from high school. Because of this, many children upon graduation want to continue with their education.”

A new initiative

During his visit, the Sisters and Luis discussed a recent initiative to raise funds for additional accommodations for students who want to continue their education after graduating from high school.

“I agreed with the sisters completely that this was a vital need for the school, and Children Incorporated has agreed to support the home so they can remodel and accommodate those students who have the desire to attend local universities or technical schools,” said Luis.

“After the renovations are complete, some of the children will be able to stay, during a transitional period. That way they can be supported while finding sound employment so that they don’t return to the harsh conditions they come from.”

Additionally, the Maria Reyna Home administration plans to request scholarships from the local government and local universities for those students that are exceptional in academics.

In conjunction with the Home’s efforts, Luis also wants to support these young women through our Higher Education Program Fund so all who wish to can continue to pursue their academic dreams.

***

How do I sponsor a child in Honduras?

You can sponsor a child in Honduras in one of three ways: call our office at 1-800-538-5381 and speak with one of our staff members; email us at sponsorship@children-inc.org; or go online to our sponsorship portal, create an account, and search for a child in Honduras that is available for sponsorship.

Understanding Honduras

Nestled in northern Central America, Honduras was once home to several Mesoamerican peoples — most notably the Maya. This ecologically diverse land — with its rainforests, cloud forests, savannas, mountain ranges and barrier reef system off the northern coast — teems with life. Its wealth of natural resources is equally impressive, including a variety of minable minerals and agricultural exports such as coffee, tropical fruit, sugar cane and lumber. Moreover, its growing textiles industry serves an international market.

The nation’s wealth of natural beauty and resources, however, belies the dire poverty in which its people live. In fact, Honduras holds the unfortunate distinction of being one of the poorest nations in Latin America. This is due in part to its longstanding political instability, social strife including the world’s highest murder rate and economic issues such as fluctuating export prices, rising inflation and unemployment. Other contributing factors include frequent natural disasters such as hurricanes, mild earthquakes and flooding as well as widespread poverty, disease and inadequate education which results in a high rate of illiteracy.

The nation’s wealth of natural beauty and resources, however, belies the dire poverty in which its people live. In fact, Honduras holds the unfortunate distinction of being one of the poorest nations in Latin America.

Facts about Honduras

– The capital of Honduras is Tegucigalpa

– The five stars on the Honduran flag represent the five countries of Central America, with the middle star representing Honduras

– The currency in Honduras is the Honduran Lempira

–  The population in Honduras is 9.265 million

– The official language is Spanish

–  The word Honduras translates to “great depths”

– It is the second-largest country in Central America

–  Honduras has the unfortunate distinction of being the country with the highest murder rate in the world

Facts about poverty in Honduras

  • More than 60% of the population lives in poverty
  • In rural areas, approximately one out of five Hondurans live in extreme poverty (less than US$1.90 per day)
  • The country faces the highest level of economic inequality in Latin America
  • One in three infants is malnourished
  • Children in rural areas get an average of four years of schooling

Where we work in Honduras

In Honduras, we affiliate with three projects:  The El Refugio Welfare Center in Progreso, Maria Reyna Home in San Pedro Sula and the Siguatepeque Primary School in Siguatepeque.

Read more about our affiliated projects

Room to Grow in Honduras

How a 90s Best Seller is Helping Kids in Honduras Today

Excelling in San Pedro Sula

Sponsorship in Central America

How you can help children in Honduras

You can help a child living in poverty in Honduras in a few different ways. One way is through our child sponsorship program. Sponsorship provides an underprivileged child with basic and education-related necessities such as food, clothing, healthcare, school supplies, and school tuition payments.

This vital support allows impoverished, vulnerable children to develop to their full potential — physically, emotionally and socially. Sponsors positively impact the lives of the children they sponsor through the knowledge that someone cares about their well-being. This gives children in need hope, which is powerful.

Our policy has always been to consider the needs of each sponsored child on an individual basis. We work closely with our volunteer coordinators at our project sites in Honduras who are familiar with each individual circumstance and the needs of every child in their care. Sponsorship donations are sent to our projects — orphanages, homes, community centers and schools — at the beginning of each month in the form of subsidy stipends. Our on-site volunteer coordinators use those funds to purchase items for children in our program, to ensure that they have what they need to do their very best and succeed in school.

You can also help children in Honduras by donating to one of our special funds. Our special funds offer a variety of giving options for sponsors who wish to further their support, as well as for donors who wish to make a difference without making a commitment. In the past, thanks to donations to our Hope In Action Fund and our International Feeding Program, we have been able to further support our projects in Honduras beyond sponsorship.

***

How a 90’s Best Seller is Helping Kids in Honduras Today

In 1997, Southwest Airlines distributed thousands of copies of Dr. Richard Carlson’s bestseller Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff to its employees — including pilot Don Wyatt of Palm Coast, Florida.

Inspired by the sentiment of the book, Wyatt wanted to give back. And since the late author was a strong supporter of Children Incorporated, Wyatt began to research the organization.

“There are many fine agencies to choose from, but my personal favorite is Children Incorporated… The experience has brought tremendous joy and satisfaction to my entire family.”

 

– Dr. Richard Carlson

After thoughtful consideration, Wyatt signed on. He currently sponsors four siblings — three sisters and a brother. They live in El Progreso, Honduras, a town still recovering slowly from the destruction caused by Hurricane Mitch in 1998. Today, the population still grapples with the effects of homelessness, disease and continued poverty stemming from that natural disaster.

El Refugio Welfare Center opened soon after to provide a place for poor and abandoned children to go to for food, clothing, and educational assistance. The center provides for the children during the day and invites parents to become involved at the center by providing support in childcare, hygiene and healthcare.

A sponsor since 1999, Wyatt has consistently gone above and beyond to help provide the siblings with the essentials they need to succeed. He is currently paying for one to attend college and plans to help the other three when the time comes.

We sat down with Wyatt to learn more about why he chose to become a sponsor, and what he’s learned along the way.

CI: How did you get involved with Children Incorporated?

DW: Like many other people, I learned about Children Incorporated though the book Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff. I acquired
that book through my employer, Southwest Airlines, in 1997. The company thought so much of the book that they bought thousands of them for their employees. The book says to give back to others, and I was impressed with what the author said about Children Incorporated. I have contributed to other charities, and one of the things that I liked the most was that the money goes straight to the children.

CI: What do you know about Honduras?

DW: It was the first time I had been in Honduras in about three years. I am prior military and have lived all over the world. I am very familiar with how things are in underdeveloped countries. I have been to Korea and the Middle East, and I have seen poverty.

CI: What do you know about the childrens’ living situation?

DW: They live with their mother. She is the primary caregiver, and she has worked several odd jobs in El Progreso. Employment is hard to come by, so she has worked as a clerk in a grocery store, and a custodian at a hospital. But recently, the mother has had health problems. I don’t know how she helped the children when they were not old enough to take care of themselves.

They live in a very rough part of town, and it is amazing that they have somewhere to live at all. They rent the home. For a while they were squatting in a home, and they got into the program because they found an empty home right next to the coordinator’s home. She enrolled the children in Children Incorporated’s program, and then they eventually moved into a home that they could legally pay for.

CI: What do you know about El Refugio?

DW: I met an assistant coordinator, Trenie, who always arranged for a translator and a driver, and has always met me, and spends the whole time with me and my wife, and going about visiting the children’s homes. I have visited all of their schools, and I have taken them out to restaurants and water parks for a day of relaxation. The children are being provided for at the center after school with supplies, clothes and large bags of groceries on a monthly basis.

CI: What can you tell us about the children you sponsor?

The book says to give back to others, and I was impressed with what the author said about Children Incorporated. I have contributed to other charities, and one of the things that I liked the most was that the money goes straight to the children.

DW: Bernardo* was my first sponsored child, but he ended up dropping out of the program. I was asked if I was willing to sponsor a child in the same program in Honduras, which is when I learned about Samuel*. Over the course of a few months, I was told about some special needs of this family, and found out that he had three sisters as well. For about six months, I was only sponsoring Samuel, and then started sponsoring all the children — and that was in 2005.

Cándida* is the eldest of the four children. She was about eleven back then, and now she is 21. She is in her second year of the higher education program in university classes in El Progreso, where she studies information technology. When she’s not studying, she spends her time listening to music and watching movies with her friends.

Right behind her is Mariluz*, who just graduated last December. She’s also a movie buff. We got her a computer to help her with her studies.

Samuel is seventeen. He took an auto mechanics course in junior high school and is continuing his studies at a technical trade school, along with some regular classes.

Natalia* is the youngest. She’s in high school. Like any other teenager, she likes movies and listening to music — but mostly, she looks for simple things to do that don’t cost that much.

CI: Do you communicate with the children directly?

DW: Yes, I try to write them at least as often as they do, if not more — six to eight times a year, and then on birthdays and holidays as well. I tell them a little bit about my life and what I do, and I take pictures of the cockpit of the airplane and send those, and ask them about their health and happiness, and try to encourage them in school. I am hopeful that it will provide some additional opportunities for them.

CI: Do they write back? What do they say to you?

DW: The letters are normally eight to ten lines long, and they give a brief sentence of how they are doing. And then say they hope my family is happy and healthy.

CI: What advice would you have for someone reading about you and your sponsored children, and considering sponsorship?

DW: Children Incorporated is extremely responsive. They welcome inquiries, pass along concerns and are willing for me to get more personally involved with the needs of the children. I am very happy being associated with Children Incorporated, and I feel that the organization has a great history, and every dollar goes to the direct needs of the child.

People contribute to charities for a lot of different reasons. If you are the type of person that wants to become more involved on a personal level, Children Incorporated lets you do that. Often with other charities, you don’t feel like you have a personal impact. With Children Incorporated, you can be more than just a contributor of money.

* Names changed for children’s protection.

***

HOW DO I SPONSOR A CHILD IN HONDURAS?

You can sponsor a child in Honduras in one of three ways – call our office and speak with one of our sponsorship specialists at 1-800-538-5381, email us at sponsorship@childrenincorporated.org, or go online to our donation portal, create an account, and search for a child in Honduras that is available for sponsorship.