It was obvious that lack of money was a limiting factor in the ability of Sor Maria Rosa to help children although every one was amazed at what she could accomplish with so little money. People were donating some money to Sociedad Amigos de los Niños through Gesu Parish but there was no organized effort to establish regular funding.
A small group of Honduras “alumni” decided to explore the feasibility of establishing a Tax-Exempt Charitable Corporation to raise funds that would establish a reliable income stream for Sociedad Amigos de los Niños and possibly others who could participate in the support of Honduran Children. This was accomplished with the incorporation and registration of the Honduran Children’s Rescue Fund in 2004. Through 2017, this organization has sent over $3,000,000 U.S to Sociedad Amigos de los Niños and has been instrumental in large donations of pharmaceuticals, medicines, clothing, books, toys and even bake oven equipment for one of the micro- businesses operated in support of children. We have also arranged for the servicing, upgrade and shipping of medical equipment to the Santa Rosa de Lima Clinic which serves a Sociedad Amigos de los Niños community in rural Nuevo Paraíso, Honduras.
The Honduran Children’s Rescue Fund raises money through charitable benefits, solicitation of grants and donations and social awareness projects.
Honduras, with a population of about 9.1 million people, is located in Central America bordering Guatemala, Nicaragua and El Salvador. It is the 2nd poorest country in our hemisphere, behind Haiti. There are high rates of adolescent pregnancy and this leads to high infant and maternal mortality rates. Honduras also suffers from many preventable communicable diseases such as malaria, dengue fever and Chagas. Honduras has nearly 60% of HIV/AIDS infections in Central America. The country spends about 7.4% of their GDP on health.
The economy is growing slowly, but the distribution of wealth remains very polarized. 50% of the population remain below the poverty line. About 27% of the normal workforce is unemployed. Crime and "gang" activities are prevalent especially in port cities in the northwest part of the country.
In October 1998 Hurricane Mitch impacted Honduras greatly. The damage destroyed 70-80% of the transportation infrastructure. Flooding and mudslides killed over 5,600 people and 20% of the population was left homeless. Estimated damage has been estimated at $3.6 Even now, 20 years later, the effects of this disaster have yet to be completely overcome.
Because of political instability, with change of governing parties, the country is making some progress in solving their core problems. Foreign-aid from the U.S. and other countries has diminished to some degree but there has been an increase in private humanitarian aid.
Honduras is only a 2 ½ hour plane ride from Miami or Houston yet it is a "world away". People living in "barrio "slums or isolated in rural villages are desperately in need of the basic services that will allow them to become productive members of society.
The Honduran Children’s Rescue Fund is a partner with Helping Hands for Honduras. This organization is based in Honduras but is also a U.S Tax-Exempt 501-(c) 3 corporation. The mission of Helping Hand for Honduras is to identify children with medical conditions that cannot be done in Honduras and arrange treatment. These are often babies born with heart defects, but many other conditions are detected. Initially, “Helping Hands” found pro bono treatment for these children at hospitals in the U.S. The Honduran Children’s Rescue Fund assisted in hosting the patient and parent during the surgical stay that averaged three weeks. While the results were excellent, this proved to be a very costly procedure and the displacement of the child and parent from their family and their normal environment proved difficult. This method is still used for exceptional cases but “Helping Hands” has been able to recruit surgical brigades consisting of pediatric heart surgeons and their teams to perform the more common procedures in Honduras.
Since Honduran hospitals usually lack the equipment and supplies for specialized surgery the brigade teams must bring everything with them. The Honduran Children’s Rescue Fund works with MedWish International, a Cleveland, OH based organization, that collects surplus medical supplies and equipment from hospitals in Northeast Ohio and makes them available to facilities in Emerging Countries. The only cost to the user for the needed items is freight. The U. S Government Denton Program allows humanitarian goods to be shipped on U.S. Air Force Cargo planes provided there is a qualified shipper and receiver. The Honduran Children’s Rescue Fund has obtained qualification status for MedWish and Helping Hands for Honduras to serve in these capacities. While the international freight is at no cost, the Honduran Children’s Rescue Fund pays local freight costs. Because of this program hundreds of thousands of dollars of medical equipment and supplies have been shipped to Honduras for use by the surgical brigades and many Honduran hospitals and clinics.
Working with other organizations helps leverage the impact the Honduran Children’s Rescue Fund has to help needy children in the care of Sociedad Amigos de los Niňos. Please visit their website for more information: www.handsforhonduras.org