Vicarious Volunteering: Helping Honduras Kids, La Ceiba, Honduras

The Jungle School at Helping Honduras KidsHelping Honduras Kids is located in and around La Ceiba on the northern coast. Consisting of the Hogar de Amor children’s orphanage, the Jungle School, and the Grandma’s Kids program, HHK provides desperately needed care to several hundred poor and orphaned children. In addition, community aid is provided regularly to two campesino (peasant farming) villages.

(Related: BECA Bi-Lingual Education for Central America, Cofradia, Honduras)

The Jungle School provides about 100 kids in grades K-6 with a free, private education. Students are given school supplies, uniforms, a hot lunch, vitamins, and medical care. Many of them walk a 3 hour round trip for the opportunity to attend. You can view a volunteer video of the Jungle School.

Helping Honduras Kids Jungle School feeds 100 childrenGrandma’s Kids helps to support actual grandmothers who are acting as caregivers. In this way they are providing a family unit to children who would otherwise be part of the orphanage system. Sponsored by donations, Helping Honduras Kids helps to provide the Grandmas with food, clothing, medical supplies, and other resources to raise the children.

Helping Honduras Kids is in the process of building a new “Hogar de Amor (House of Love)” children’s home, set to open in April. The project has come together piece by piece, with donations of $75 for a new toilet here, and $120 for a new bed there. The current orphanage has become cramped, with 22 kids living in a 3 bedroom 2 bath house. The kids take turns waking up at 3am in order to ensure that everyone has time to uHelping Honduras Kids children's orphanagese the bathroom before school. The Hogar de Amor will provide a more suitable space for up to 43 kids.

The kids who make the move from a government orphanage to the Hogar de Amor will surely experience a significant upgrade. The government-run programs have a reputation for being inefficient, with as much as 90% of funds going to salaries and office workers and only 10% left for the kids. An account of a visit to one of these facilities states, “When we arrived at the facility it looked more like a juvenile detention center than it did an orphanage. Venturing into the facility, my heart was taken back as we witnessed living conditions that shook me up to the point where I had to compose myself before I could move forward.”

Fathers Day for El Mejor Padre en el Mundo in La Ceiba, Honduras

Father's Day for Dave Ashby - Sign reads "El Padre Mejor del Mundo (The best father in the world)"

Many of the children that Helping Honduras Kids takes in have been abused. HHK Founder Dave Ashby writes, “Some abused children are fine until puberty sets in, and then they become ‘lost souls’. They may or may not remember the abuse, but they always know that something is terribly wrong.” Dave uses art, encouraging kids to “draw their pain” to uncover problems and to learn the history of each child. Board member Jim Storbeck relates, “Dave appreciates the statistics but is fighting hard to beat them–he wants his kids to receive love, emotional counseling, and a good education to break free from the problems in their past and the cycle of poverty they grew up in.”

Art is also used to establish an identity for the kids, many of whom lack birth certificates. During their time with HHK, kids compile “Life Books,” including photos, descriptions, school records, likes and dislikes, and happy memories.Kids at Hogar de Amor in La Ceiba, Honduras

Overall, Helping Honduras Kids regularly helps over 200 kids and feeds around 100 daily. In the future the organization seeks to be more sustainable, recognizing that current donations are only about half of what is needed for the existing programs. With a staff made up entirely of volunteers, donations go directly to helping the poor and orphaned children of Honduras.

Cheers to Dave, Jim, and the volunteers that make Helping Honduras Kids possible!

Helping Honduras Kids helps house, teach, and feed orphaned childrenSupport Helping Honduras Kids


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