Television producer Vanessa French embarks on mission to Guatemala

TVNZ producer Vanessa French is packing her bags for Guatemala.
November 11, 2015 - New Zealand

TVNZ Producer is packing her bags for Guatemala

Vanessa French is swapping Grey Lynn for Guatemala.

The television producer is about to head to the Central American country to volunteer in a children's home for a year.

Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos (NPH) was founded in 1954 in Mexico by Father William Wasson. He offered to take custody of a child who had been arrested for stealing.

Wasson went on to adopt more homeless children and eventually opened NPH, which means "our little brothers and sisters" in Spanish.

Today NPH operates eight homes in South and Central America.

The children they take in are not put up for adoption. Instead, they are schooled and housed until they finish their education.

French's new role as a communications officer will consist of taking photos and videos, writing the newsletter and blogging about NPH's activities.

"[It's about] getting to know the kids and telling their stories," French says.

She has travelled extensively in South America and also volunteered at an orangutan sanctuary in Borneo.

She speaks some Spanish and has been looking for an opportunity to travel and volunteer again.

Fellow volunteer Loren O'Sullivan spent two years in the Honduras home, teaching English during the day and caring for the babies at night.

She now volunteers in NPH's New Zealand office as the child sponsorship co-ordinator.

O'Sullivan found the experience very rewarding.

"You go over there to help people, but I got more out of the experience than I ever expected. It's quite humbling."

O'Sullivan says there's not much governmental help for foster kids in Honduras and the effects of poverty outside of the orphanage were apparent.

French is also looking forward to the challenges of her adventure.

"I'm hoping to form some lasting relationships with some of the kids and volunteers. [It's] a chance to do something completely different."

NPH is holding a fundraising event with tapas, tequila and Latin music at Besos Latinos Restaurante, 39 Elliot St on November 24 at 7pm.

Visit for tickets.

Alice Parminter
Fairfax NZ




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