Casa de Esperanza Assists Two Students with Ocular Prosthesis

GRAND HAVEN, Mich. — An international missions organization with strong ties to West Michigan recently funded the placement of an ocular prosthesis for two students in Honduras. 

Casa de Esperanza, translated as “House of Hope,” is a missions organization operating in Siguatepeque and Comayagua, Honduras. Its founding board members primarily live in Grand Haven, where much of its fundraising takes place. 

Casa de Esperanza provides support of all kinds to students in Honduras, and recently the organization helped two students, Amy Mathus (Grade 7) and Jefferson Ivan mesa Carillo (Grade 9) each receive a prosthetic eye. Each of these students was born with one congenital deformed eye that would never function normally. The prosthetic eyes improve the appearance of the affected eye sockets and will allow them to step into 2023 with new confidence! 

Amy, who previously had a prosthetic eye, needed a new size as her eye socket grew. “It was really affecting her confidence,” shared Lori DeWitt, president and founder of Casa de Esperanza. “Her behavior and grades in school had slipped drastically and the teachers recommended that she see a counselor.”  

“I remember when I met Jefferson thinking ‘can we do something to help this young man?'” shared board member Alishia Terril. “And the answer is a big yes, and we did it!” 

In order to be fitted for the placement of a prosthetic eye, the students had to travel from Honduras to the neighboring country of Guatemala. The students each met with an ocular prosthetic artist, Roberto Iglesias Vargas, in Guatemala City for an hour a day for one week to be fitted for the ocular implant and prosthesis. Amy’s parents accompanied the students on the trip, which in total cost about $5,000. 

As a 100% volunteer-driven 501c3, Casa de Esperanza hosts several fundraisers each year in Grand Haven and surrounding West Michigan areas. Most recently, it hosted a Soup Smorgasbord Supper, bringing in funds that will be used to provide scholarships for students in Honduras, as well as fund special projects like this one. 

“We are so grateful for our many generous donors,” said board member Jordan Grooters. “Without the support of those in our community, we wouldn’t be able to accomplish what we have in Honduras.” 

It was obvious that the students were quite pleased with the results of the procedure. “I’ve never seen Jefferson smile quite that big” DeWitt added. Amy’s mother, Amalia, wrote to the board of directors, “Thank you, Casa de Esperanza, for your unconditional support!”

Casa de Esperanza is a Christian, faith-based organization created to bring hope to the country of Honduras through education. Translated as “House of Hope,” Casa de Esperanza seeks to promote self-sufficiency and spiritual growth through supportive housing, training and skills development, medical care, and basic construction services. Casa de Esperanza is a member of the Grand Haven Area Community Foundation and the Honduran Fellowship of Missionaries and Ministries.