Honduras is the second-poorest country in the Western Hemisphere and the murder capital of the world.

 

Two thirds of the population lives below the poverty line.

Nearly 50 percent of Honduran families are headed by a single parent.

UNICEF recently estimated that there are more than 150,000 orphans in the country.

More than 10,000 street children are subject to violence, abuse, and human trafficking.

 

Friends of Honduran Children, Inc was founded in 2001 to offer education, shelter, opportunity, and hope to Honduran children at risk in partnership with the Honduran organization Sociedad Amigos de los Ninos. We sponsor children, lead brigades to do construction and maintenance on the children's homes and schools, provide scholarships for students able to attend university, mentor Hondurans in business development and sustainability, raise funds, and respond to whatever needs arise. Our mission is to give these children the love and hope they need for a brighter future.

Forty-two percent of Honduras' population of 8 million people is under the age of 18

UNICEF's estimate of 150,000 orphans in Honduras doesn't take into account many thousands additional "economic orphans" and "moral orphans": children abused, abandoned, neglected, or failed by their caretakers.

 

Sister Maria Rosa Leggol, the founder of Sociedad Amigos de los Ninos, became the mother of tens of thousands of Honduran children at risk by creating safe homes for them, followed by schools, clinics, vocational training centers, a youth farm, and micro-businesses.

FHC administers nearly 300 partial and full sponsorships of SAN kids with the goal of full sponsorship of every child. Because we are a volunteer organization, 100 percent of your sponsorship donations go to the direct care of the children, their housing, nutrition, medical needs, and education. You can learn how to sponsor a child under the Get Involved button. Your interest and support truly changes the lives of these beautiful children and offers a brighter, happier future.

 

The gang problem in Honduras was splashed widely across the mainstream U.S. news last year as hordes of unaccompanied Honduran children fleeing gang violence and recruitment at home sought refuge at the U.S. border.

A 2012 UNICEF study reported more than 4,700 children and young people belonged to gangs in Honduras.

Ninety percent of Honduras' street children are addicted to inhaling "yellow" glue or shoe glue because it helps them resist hunger. It is highly toxic and many children die before they are 18.

 

Sister Maria Rosa's concept of small group homes of no more than ten or 12 children each creates a sense of family within every house.

FHC board members lead mission teams to Honduras at least annually to help keep up with maintenance on SAN's existing children's homes and schools and work on new construction, in addition to conducting medical, food, and school brigades in rural villages. Some of our favorite projects to work on or help with:

  • Raising sections of a brick security wall to shelter and protect 200 children at Nuevo Paraiso village
  • Renovating the bathrooms serving 45 children in the Pedro Atala homes
  • Providing new desks and an air-conditioned computer lab for the Nuevo Paraiso School of more than 200 students
  • Painting some part, inside or out, of at least half the homes at Nuevo Paraiso
  • Renovating the chapel at Nuevo Paraiso
  • Building part of a bodega (storeroom), gatehouse, and new home for a single mother with special-needs children
  • Digging a drainage canal to save a Nuevo Paraiso dining hall from flooding
 
 

In 2013 enrollment for students at the 7th through 9th grade level was only 49 percent.

Enrollment for 10th and 11th grades was only 25 percent.

In Honduras education is compulsory through 9th grade.

 

Sociedad Amigos de los Ninos started three schools at Nuevo Paraiso village--Cristiane Daycare and Kindergarten, Nuevo Paraiso School, and Nuevo Paraiso Technical High School--that serve about 600 students and employ about 50 teachers and staff.

SAN's Reyes Irene Valenzuela Vocational Training Center in Tegucigalpa enrolls 500 teenagers who labor mostly as street vendors or underpaid domestic workers. These young women come to school on their one day off each week to get an accelerated primary or secondary education and vocational training in many areas in order to raise themselves out of poverty and labor abuse. TK number of young women have graduated from the program since 2001 (or whatever stat we can get from them); some have gone on to university.

Community empowerment and educational development are important FHC goals. We have partnered with Nuevo Paraiso School and its principal, Gloria Reyes Garcia, for more than a decade, by donating books, materials, supplies, desks, and helping provide air-conditioning for the computer lab.

FHC's Scholarship Program provides assistance to students in the SAN family with the desire and ability to further their education at the university level and improve the quality of life for themselves and their families. An annual award of $1,000 toward tuition and supplies is renewable each year by request and submission of current academic records. FHC also asks each student to consider working or volunteering with SAN when they complete their education.

For the 2014-15 academic year, FHC is proud to partner with these outstanding students:

  • Paola Erazo – Medicine (2015 completion)
  • Xouschil Cruz – Microbiology
  • Maria José Paz – Psychology
  • Tania Diaz – Marketing and International Business
  • Sergio Ardon – Pharmacy
  • Daniel Matus Piñeda – Electrical Engineering
  • Axel Palma Rodriguez – Civil Engineering
  • Maynor Palma Rodriguez – Medicine
  • Elvin Raudales – Foreign Languages
  • Lorena Raudales – Tourism/Ecological Conservation
  • Yajaira Mazariegos – Marketing/Business

Thank you to all our Friends Gala supporters and donors who help provide the major funding for these scholarships.

 

[sidebar possibilities: Success stories: Chuvi (already in Sep 2013 newsletter), Dani, Luis, Paola, who is about to graduate. Ann Rider(Newscaster, talked at Gala) We really don't have a lot of graduates and success stories. What we DO have are somewhat vague testimonials from SAN children of the '70s and '80s saying how much SAN and Sister Maria Rosa helped shape their lives.]

An estimated 16 percent of children ages 5 to 14 are employed in Honduras. 
They engage in the most hazardous forms of child labor, including coffee and sugarcane harvesting, mining, fishing, factory work, and commercial sexual exploitation or trafficking in the cities.

Thirty four percent of children in Honduras are married by age 18. Eight percent are married by age 15.

 

Sister Maria Rosa's motto--"Dignity in life comes from working, not from begging"--means that SAN's priorities are not just to rescue children but to give them the tools to earn a living and become self-sufficient adults.

Over the decades, SAN has generated many entrepreneurial micro-businesses, often managed or staffed by its grown children, including several guesthouses for mission travelers, the Maderas Carpentry Workshop, the Mama Coakley Dining Hall at Nuevo Paraiso, the Aurora Cafeteria at Hospital Santa Rosa de Lima, the Tajiricas Plantain Chip Factory and a bakery in the Miraflores neighborhood of Tegucigalpa. FHC worked closely with SAN on the management of the Cielos de Honduras Brick Factory for many years.

FHC raised funds through its 2014 Friends Gala toward a Transition Plan to help SAN high school graduates get started on their paths to adulthood. The plan will include initial financial assistance with living expenses and mentorship in life skills, city survival, and will be tailored to the individual young adult, whether he is attending university or vocational school or looking for a job. 

Hope

Our success stories.