Here are some of the projects that we have assisted in whether a one time project or permanent bases.
Flor Azul is a rural farm located about an hour and a half outside of Tegucigalpa. Seventy young men, ages 12 to 18, from rural areas of extreme poverty, live at Flor Azul. These boys attend school, study agriculture and business, raise chickens, pigs and tilapia, and run businesses such as the Internet café and convenience store at Nuevo Paraíso. They also run a guesthouse at Flor Azul for visitors and medical brigades that come to the farm. Flor Azul is run by Tios (Uncles) who live with and teach the boys. There, they are able to play basketball and soccer and enjoy the company of the numerous groups that stay there.
Sociedad Amigos de los Niños (SAN), or “Society for The Friends of Children”, is one of the most known and respected private non-profit organizations in Honduras. Founded in 1966 by Sister Maria Rosa Leggol, Sociedad Amigos de los Niños aims to help the children of Honduras by focusing on the orphaned and abandoned children and young people of the country. Sociedad Amigos de los Niños works to provide clothing, shelter, food, education, training, medical services and psychological support for each and every child or teenager. The programs of SAN work to provide a safe and nurturing environment that provides the children the opportunity to live in dignity. Sociedad Amigos de los Niños addresses their basic needs and creates opportunities for each child to acquire the necessary skills to enjoy a productive and meaningful life by assisting them in growing, achieving, and fulfilling their dreams.
"Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see. "
Since 1965, Sor Maria Rosa Leggol has been an influential religious and civic leader who has initiated and developed numerous programs to improve the quality of life for more than 40,000 children throughout Honduras and Central America. She has also aided thousands of victims of environmental and economic disasters through relief efforts and humanitarian brigades.
Known affectionately by the citizens of Honduras as Sor Maria Rosa, she is referred to as the “Mother Theresa” of Central America. Citizens might not know the name of the cardinal, but they always seem to know the name Sor Maria Rosa. She has been named as one of the most influential women in Honduras, had a postage stamp created in her honor, and has been awarded the “Gold Leaf Award” , an honor usually reserved for men who have been distinguished leaders in Honduras, and was the first woman to do so.
Sister Maria Rosa became an orphan at a very early age and lived with her Godparents. Determined to become a part of the religious community, in 1939 she went to live at the Hospice “Saint Francis of Assisi” in Comayagua, where, a few years later she would officially join the Religious Community.
From 1945 to 1948 Sister Maria Rosa worked as a nurse in a hospital called “La Policlinica”, in Tegucigalpa. On June 13th, 1949 she made her first religious vows in the city of Milwaukee, Wisconsin and took the religious habit of a Franciscan Sister.
Because she herself was an orphan, Sor Maria Rosa witnessed firsthand the lack of loving care and individual personal attention given to children who had lost their parents. From her own experience she was inspired at a very early age to create a more loving environment and better living conditions for the children of her home country. The first children raised under her care were children whose mothers were in prison.
Now, 92 years old, Sor Maria Rosa has touched the lives of thousands. Hundreds of thousands. She touches the lives of each person she comes in contact with. Her motivation and her vision brings thousands of volunteers a year to work with her children. She continues to give 100% to every child she encounters. And it is her love, compassion, and vision that drives the Honduran Children’s Rescue Fund.
Located in Tegucigalpa, the Pedro Atala homes are small-group homes that meet the urgent needs of about 50 at-risk city children. These children are either homeless, abandoned, subject to gang violence, or forced to stay in prison with their incarcerated mothers. Here, these children live with housemothers (Tias or aunts) and receive healthcare, education, psychological help, and spiritual counseling. The director of Pedro Atala is an advocate for their safety, education, and well-being and a firm and loving Tia to each and every of them. The entire SAN community empowers children with schooling, tutoring, and work experience so they can lead self-supporting lives as adults. These homes are located a block away from the headquarters of Sociedad Amigos de los Niños.
Located about an hour outside of Tegucigalpa, Nuevo Paraíso is a rural community of homes, schools, and activity centers for over 100 children. Originally a small community for single mothers and their children, it has transformed into large community full of life and children. These children are abandoned or orphaned that now live in group homes with housemothers (Tias). Here, they receive schooling, computer training, skills training, healthcare, psychological counseling, and love and attention. These children are then able to grow up in a safe environment and prepare themselves to attend the university in Tegucigalpa or become a skilled worker in one of the many trades that are taught in the schools of Nuevo.
Located in Tegucigalpa, the Reyes Irene Valenzuela School for Girls was founded to eradicate widespread child labor offering primary and secondary accelerated education, health education and healthcare, legal support, and technical and vocational training in computers, textiles, hair design, and other businesses. With over 450 young women enrolled in grades 9-12, the Reyes Irene Valenzuela School helps empower young women and keep them from working the streets of Tegucigalpa.
The Santa Rosa de Lima Clinic is located in Nuevo Paraíso and serves not only the community of Nuevo, but the regional population as well. Inaugurated in 2000, it is a primary-care facility for approximately 60,000 inhabitants. The Santa Rosa de Lima Clinic provides 24 hour emergency medical services, general consultations, dental services, labor and delivery, laboratory services, pharmacy and ambulance services in the nearby rural communities. It is the only medical center in the area. Currently, the Santa Rosa de Lima Clinic has three operating rooms, an imaging suite, forty inpatient beds, as well as outpatient clinics.
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
The Denton program is administered through USAID (United States Agency for International Development) which allows for humanitarian organizations to utilize excess military cargo space for the shipment of life saving supplies. HCRF is able to ship directly from the airbase in Youngstown, Ohio to Honduras.
The Village of Nuevo Paraiso, home to many orphaned and children of single others, is nearly 25 years old. The Village has outgrown it's septic system. In mid December 2013 the system failed causing sewage to flow into a nearby river and in some areas "back up" in the Village. This was a health hazard to residents and an environmental disaster. Fortunately "Sociedad" had already contacted an engineer to access the situation with hope they could specify the necessary work, establish the cost of the project and raise funds for the reconstruction.
The failure took away the luxury of an orderly approach to the problem. Action was needed NOW! Everyone was ready for Christmas; not finding ways to rebuild a septic system. It was quickly determined that $23,000 USD was needed and a plea went out to the many organizations and individuals who support "Sociedad". The Honduran Children's Rescue Fund pledged $5,000 from its reserve funds but realized this was only a start and immediate action was needed. An agreement was reached with "Sociedad" that HCRF would plead the case to possible North American donors. The response was overwhelming. We raised $26,000 in four days and we notified "Sociedad" to start working. On the morning of January 2, 2014 the back hoe started digging and within weeks a re-engineered and rebuilt system will operating. The children and adult residents of Nuevo Paraiso will be safe from disease bearing sewage and the river will once again be clean.