Our kids at NPH Honduras are looking forward to Christmas after a difficult year due to Covid19. Wendy Castro, a teacher at our primary school, has started decorating her classroom with her students. The kids’ excitement is something that Wendy can relate to – she was once in their shoes. “Growing up at NPH, Christmas was my favourite time of year. I have many happy memories.”
Before coming to NPH Wendy lived with her grandmother. “When my grandma passed away it was a very difficult time for us kids. Grandpa told my mum that she would have to take us in,” Wendy explains.
In spite of her mum and stepfather not wanting to take care of the children, Wendy and her brother moved in with them. “It was a very dangerous neighbourhood where my mum lived. All six of us lived in a small wooden house. There was no bathroom and no kitchen, so we had to cook over a small fire outside. At night, we had to sleep three people in each bed.”
Growing up in extreme poverty Wendy was forced into child labour. “Every morning, I had to sell lollies outside a clinic near our house. When we didn’t sell all the lollies my mum bet us with whatever she found around the house. One day, it was so bad that I was bleeding from my arm. Doctors at the clinic noticed and informed social services,” Wendy admits.
“I arrived at NPH at the age of 11 in 1998. At first I felt sad and confused. It was difficult being around so many new people. But I soon realised just how much my life had improved. I started going to school for the first time, I had food and clothes. Most importantly, nobody hit me. I felt so safe and full of life,” Wendy smiles.
Wendy found a loving home and family at NPH. “I loved all of the activities with the other children. I felt such pure love there. I felt safe and protected. They made me feel that I belonged there and that we really are a family.”
Wendy took advantage of all the opportunities that NPH gave her, excelling at school and leadership activities. It’s no surprise to those who know Wendy that she has succeeded in completing her teaching degree. With a big desire to help our kids, Wendy has come back to work at our Montessori primary school.
“I want to give back even just a little of what NPH has given me. I want to let the younger girls see an example of what can happen if they use the opportunities that are given to them.”
Wendy knows that the kids are really looking forward to Christmas this year. It will look a bit different because of the pandemic but there will still be plenty of good food, Christmas mass and presents of course! “It’s been a tough year and the kids really need a bit of Christmas cheer,” Wendy admits.
The people of Honduras have been marked by triple tragedy this year. The pandemic has had a devastating impact on many families who rely on informal work to survive. Adding to these difficulties, the coastal communities of Honduras have been hit by two consecutive hurricanes in November. Thousands of people have been displaced and are now homeless. Our NPH family have been busy sending food, hygiene packs and clothes to the affected communities.
The Director of NPH Honduras, Stephen O’Mahoney, says, “Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it. This storm shall pass. Distance does not diminish the gratitude that we have for the futures, hopes, and dreams of our children which are made possible because of your generosity.”
If you’d like to help vulnerable children and families, please check out our NPH Christmas Gifts.