The world we live in equally distributes human potential but does not equally distribute opportunity.
Below is a 20 plus year summary of our efforts in preparing children in Honduras to create their own opportunities. We hope you will join us in this effort.
Hurricane devastates Honduras
In late 1998 in response to Hurricane Mitch, a level 5 hurricane that devastated communities across Honduras, a group of Chicagoans banded together as a 501(c)3 operating as United Friends of Honduras, to send a container to Morazan, Yoro Honduras filled with clothing and toys.
Hurricane relief efforts
In early 1999 the first of 3 c.ontainers arrived in Honduras. The program continued for 5 years. We and friends of HEDAC traveling with us brought hundresds of suitcases filled with mostly clothing and toys each year. We also accepted cash donations for food. Schools in rural and urban settings as well as select communities along the road side were the distribution points. The relief effort contindued through 2004 and to a lesser extent many years later.
From relief to education
A milestone development occured in 2005 with a mission change from relief to education so as to have a longer term impact. A local team of educators recommended a mix of 15 rural and urban schools to target for educational support. Total student population of these schools in 2006 was 2,700. We registered as a 501(s)3 under the name HEDAC, Honduras Educational Development Assistance Corp.
School Facility Improvements
Our initial efforts in our new educational focus was on infracture improvements, facility repairs and upgrades. Investing in a community required that the community be part of the process. A typical example is that HEDAC provided materials, the community provided non-professional labor, the municipality provided professional labor.
School furniture and supplies
With schools painted and secure fencing installed, HEDAC purchased backpacks filled with pencils, pens, paper, notebooks, crayons and sissors. In addition we also provided globes, teacher and student desks and filling cabinets for each school.
Having spent so much time in the schools with relief efforts and facility imiprovements, the next logical step was to help keep kids in school beyond the 6th grade. Many parents could not afford the fees associated with attending the 7th grade and beyond. Others dropped out to help the family in the fields. HEDAC responded with a scholarshp program to keep these kids in school. This 9 year program met with mixed results.
After school facility
In August of 2012, the community of Cinco de Enero invited us to a meeting to address the idea of building an after-school facility on two lots that they owned. We felt that such a project was in line with our mission of advancing education. After school programming would enhance the learning process plus provide a safe and secure place for children after school. We agreed, signed a contract later that year and construction commenced in late 2012.
Special Project: Escuela Minerva
The school of Minerva asked for help in building a concha (out door facility) to serve as an event place for school functions and open for community use as well.
Received Honduras NGO status
Having NGO status in Honduras allowed us to transfer ownership of land grant from Government of Honduras to HEDAC for the construction of a vocational / technical center.
Pre-K and Kinder
Launch of our Pre-K and Kinder program in its own building on the grounds of the after school facility. This program is tuition based and is part of our sustainability initiative.
Kitchen & Culinary Program
Graduates of our culinary baking class in our kitchen, just before Covid shutdown
First cohart of teachers receiving training in best practices. Annual training based onn requests from the teachers themselves. and conducted by Ana Gil Garcia, HEDAC board member.
Covid-19 in Honduras
In March of 2020, Honduras saw its first case of Covid-19. Within months all schools, including ours were shut down. In response we conducted some classes online with mixed result.
Pandemic and Hurricane relief
2021 continued being consumed with responding to the effects of two hurricanes and Covid pandemic. Food distribution, and construction assistance and providing construction materials was the focus. Including for our own facility.