Honduras remains one of the poorest countries in Latin America, with poverty concentrated in the rural areas where half the population of 7 million resides. Eighteen percent of Hondurans live on less than US$1.25/day (source: CIDA).
Many children in the capital city of Tegucigalpa literally live “on the streets.” In the face of desperate poverty, youngsters who should be in school may not have the chance. The families can no longer feed, cloth, or educate them. Their homes, little more than cardboard and tin pieced together, offer no space, no running water, and little hope of a future. It is difficult for Hondurans to even imagine a better life, much less create one.
But then, there is El Hogar. Founded in 1979, El Hogar Projects provides food, clothing, shelter, education, and spiritual development to some 250 boys, aged 5-18. El Hogar is a path to a better future. El Hogar not only means home, El Hogar is home.
The younger boys and girls (Grades 1-7), many of them orphaned, live and study at El Hogar de Amory Esperanza – the home of love and hope. When they graduate, the boys can choose to continue their academic studies and add a vocational component at either the Agricultural School or the Technical Institute. The girls go on to the El Hogar Residence in Santa Lucia and receive their high-school education at Virginia Sapp, a state of the art private school.
Gerry Bubbs with the El Hogar Boys
At the Technical Institute, a boy can learn a marketable trade as a certified carpenter, welder or electrician tradesman. The students at the Institute are high achievers academically; they also consistently receive high marks from their field education supervisors. Upon graduation, they readily find employment, which in Honduras means a chance for a better life.
At The Agricultural School students learn the principles and practicalities of agriculture and animal husbandry. The focus is on subjects which increase farm productivity and protect the environment: crop production, the nuances of drip irrigation, how to conserve precious water, the use of animal waste as fertilizer, and composting techniques. The students share their newfound agricultural knowledge with family and rural neighbours, thereby enhancing individual farms and the community-at-large.
Boys bring in the eggs
In 2005, Universal Outreach Foundation hosted “Fore the Kids”, a golf tournament fundraiser, and donor support was almost $200,000 – enough to build a dormitory for up to 130 boys at the El Hogar Technical Institute, who were then sleeping on the porch of an old house. In 2006, UOF raised $220,000 to build a multipurpose building with dining room, kitchen, classrooms and a dormitory at the Agricultural School that allowed for the doubling of the enrolment of the farm school. The buildings have now been completed on time and on budget at about $20 a sq. ft.
Kids in class room
Kids lining up for school
How about the Girls?￼
Yes, everything is better now. 6 girls started school in 2009 and another 6-8 have started each year since. This will continue as the school moves forward.
UOF visits El Hogar on a frequent basis with our latest working trip being in May of 2012. We are happy to report that the school is running as smoothly as ever. The female student population now stands at 28 and the administrators are always looking at ways to accommodate more girls into the school as well as providing them with a high school education.