It has been a year since we started building the San José Family Centre in the small rural village, Mata de Plátano, a 1 hour drive from our NPH children’s home in Honduras.
When the doors of our centre first opened we welcomed a few children with disabilities who needed urgent attention, including Jefry, a boy with cerebral palsy who lives with his parents and two brothers. He can’t speak. He used to imitate the sounds and behaviour of cats. Our physiotherapist used to visit his home as he was unable to come to the centre. His condition has improved now and he’s able to walk to the centre with help from his dad, José Mario.
“For me, being part of the San José Family Centre is a blessing. It is a gift from heaven and something I have always prayed for,” says José Mario. “I used to feel hopeless. I used to look at my boy, Jefry, and promise him that someday I would be able to help him. Now, that promise is a reality and this brings me great joy. My heart is full of gratitude for the staff, NPH and the donors.”
It’s been incredible to see Jefry’s progress. He can now identify shapes and colours and his cat mimicking has decreased.
Our centre coordinator, Amy Gonzales, with her team – a psychologist, a physiotherapist and a tutor, have joined with local schools to identify 68 students who need their services.
With the support of family members, our staff are providing free tutouring, counselling and physiotherapy. “Recently, we’ve been working with the teachers from the community and training them so they can help children with learning difficulties. There were some children in Year 6 who didn’t know how to read and write, but thanks to our work we have seen their incredible progress,” Amy adds.
In the community, 452 families make a living from agriculture alone, which barely allows them to cover their daily expenses, let alone materials and resources vital for their children’s education. That’s why the San José Family Centre provides an internet connection for the children to do their homework with the help from a tutor.
The San José Family Centre has also implemented the ‘Powerful Girls’ program, which aims to empower teenage girls from the surrounding communities. The girls receive workshops about life-skills and character building, they learn how to make jewellery and discuss topics that interest them.
“At the beginning, there were 13 young girls, but now there are 24. The majority of the girls are staying in school thanks to the encouragement of our centre. In this space, they feel loved, safe and free to talk about things that worry them. They might not feel comfortable talking about these things at home. It’s a constant challenge to educate girls in these rural communities as they’re often encouraged by their families to get married after finishing primary school. We are working tirelessly to empower the girls to encourage them to study and look for opportunities for their personal growth, so they can pursue a better future.”
The Family Centre has been a wonderful gift to the Mata de Plátano community, especially with the pandemic having such a big impact on this poor rural community. Our staff have created a project “Helping Hands,” which provides monthly food baskets to families who need it.
We’ve also been organizing training in our community gardens so that the different families can produce, exchange or sell their produce to each other.
Amy says, “As a coordinator of the Family Centre, I face many challenges on a daily basis, but I also feel fortunate to be here, able to help the most vulnerable through this project implemented by NPH Honduras. There are about 83 entire families who are being directly benefited and 305 individuals. It’s already having a big impact and changing lives. ”