From the time Cristian Barrientos was young, he always wanted to grow up to be a doctor. Now, as a medical student at the Universidad Católica de Honduras (UNICAH), he is working to make that dream a reality. "I feel that there is a lot of need in my community and that studying medicine would give me the opportunity to help the people who need it most," shared Cristian. "We all have a purpose to this world and I do not want to leave without fulfilling it."
HOPE. HEALING. HONDURAS.
Honduras is one of the poorest countries in the Western Hemisphere. In 1998, Hurricane Mitch caused massive and widespread destruction. Honduran President Carlos Roberto Flores said that fifty years of progress in the country had been reversed. Total losses were estimated at $3 billion USD. In 2010, 50% of the population were still living below the poverty line. By 2016 more than 66% were living below the poverty line. Estimates put unemployment at about 27.9%, which is more than 1.2 million Hondurans. Because interest rates are near 50%, citizens struggle to get by on a daily basis. This has also caused a breakdown in family structure, with many single-parent families and many children being raised in orphanages. Read on to learn how Casa de Esperanza is making a difference in Honduras.
Young adults leaving orphanages in Honduras have no vocational skills, much less the basic life skills needed to live independently. Through the Comayagua Boys Project, Casa de Esperanza is teaching young men these skills while also giving them the opportunity to further their formal education.
Very few can afford the socialized healthcare that exists in Honduras. Casa de Esperanza has been working to empower local community leaders. These leaders are able to promote disease prevention concepts and basic hygiene with the materials and supplies Casa provides.
In the aftermath of Hurricane Mitch in 1999, Bill DeWitt, DDS went with volunteers fromWestern Michigan to Honduras to provide dental services and complete repairs on an orphanage. His wife Lori, a registered nurse, accompanied him on his next trip which would start them on their road to creating Casa de Esperanza.
Over the last sixteen years, Casa de Esperanza’s mission has expanded to include medical & dental clinics, vocational training, & fundamental living skills through education projects.
Today, volunteers from Casa de Esperanza continue to return to Honduras several times a year to work on a variety of projects, such as dental and medical clinics, vocational training, as well as various construction endeavors.
Casa de Esperanza is always looking for help. From donations, to volunteers to run local events, to those willing to join a group trip, every little bit helps.