Four months ago when I registered to attend the Project Honduras Conference in Copan Ruinas, Honduras I asked myself if spending $600 on a plane ticket, $100 for Conference fees, and the additional money for food and lodging would be worth it. Since getting on this"kick" of contemplating appropriate and effective methods for mission work, I have become more concerned about how we spend our money in Honduras. Could the money my support network and I spent on our attending the Conference have been better spent on next year's short-term mission teams or one of the various long-term projects in which A.H.M.E.N. is involved? Certainly my investment could have gone toward feeding bellies, installing solar panels, or teaching clean water technology; nonetheless, our investment in Project Honduras is also an investment in A.H.M.E.N.
Marco Caceres, of Honduras Weekly, began hosting the Project Honduras Conference twelve years ago to help humanitarian groups working in Honduras better communicate. Although Honduran President Porfirio Lobo did not return this year, the energy surrounding the Conference was unlike anything I have experienced. Over 150 people from five different continents, completely addicted to their own special project in Honduras, came to interact with other like-minded organizations in an attempt to learn to better serve alongside the people of Honduras. In addition to the US Ambassador to Honduras, a representative from the Honduran National Congress, and representatives from USAID in Honduras, volunteers from schools, churches, children's homes, medical clinics and developmental groups showed up to learn what other groups are doing in Honduras. It doesn't get much better than that!
I originally anticipated that in the process of networking we would come across several groups working in many of the same areas in which A.H.M.E.N. focuses its attention, but we were literally the only group in attendance specifically working along the Garifuna coast. Whether this was because other humanitarian groups along Honduras' North Coast directly spend their money on Honduran communities rather than conferences or not, the lack of attention given to Garifuna and other indigenous cultures at the Project Honduras Conference demands groups like A.H.M.E.N. and CHIMES cast wider our network of communication across Honduras.
Below is a list of A.H.M.E.N. project areas with contact info for similarly-focused organizations working in Honduras. Let's begin building bridges today! Each contact overlaps into other areas...just pick one and I will send you contact info. You may find the answer to a question you didn't know how to ask!
- Valerie Nelson of Familias Saludables in Roatan uses a therapeutic tool called “Life Books” to help children who have suffered physical or sexual abuse, neglect, and abandonment. Her technique teaches Hondurans to create personal histories which they can look on with pride.
- Jeff Ernst of Children's Villages of Honduras works through “Positive Youth Development” and the important role that community involvement plays in a child's growth.
- Olga Alvarado of the Ministry of Youth in Tegucigalpa specializes in microenterprise programs to empower young women in Honduras.
- Suyapa Sabillon works as the director of legal affairs for Amigos de Jesus works to empower the next generation of Honduras.
- Carson Rodeffer of Light and Life International works to incorporate education programs into children's feeding centers.
- Carol Brouwer of A Better World Canada uses an innovative school-based approach to teaching hygiene and nutrition and advancing education. Brouwer also helped advance a community owned and operated chicken project.
- Genevieve Ross of the Roatan Vortex Breakfast Program works to sponsor a nutritious breakfast program for students at the Luisa Trundle School.
- Blair Quinius of Urban Promise Honduras helps provide a holistic support network for children and youth through after-school programs, summer camps, and youth leadership training.
- Christine Frederick of Walking With Children in Tegucigalpa pushes the Honduran public health system to work for Hondurans. Her organization works to channel patients through established routes so as to make government more accountable to parent-less and vulnerable children.
- Phil Drake and Douglas Barahona of Providence World Ministries encourages children's homes to function as centers of community, family, top-level education and medical care, proper nutrition, and long-term self-sustainability.
- Melody and Jacob Cherian of Honduras Fundacaion and Hogar Miques spoke about how to raise abandoned, neglected, and abused children with the love, care, education, and Christian values they need to lead future generations of Honduras.
- Lauren and Steven Hosack are looking to refer at-risk and exceptional education students from Puerto Lempira to the Deaf School in Plan de Flores and Shalom in La Ceiba.
- Tara and Jorge Garcia of R.O.O.M. work with children's homes in Puerto Lempira and Ahuas.
- Edwin Mejia of Ministrerio para Niños y Familias ARROW in Tegucigalpa provides training and assistance to the staff of child protection institutions in order to strengthen their childcare services.
- Dr. Medina from Honduras Global can help supply Honduran medical staff for volunteer teams.
- Operation Smile Honduras can help supply Honduran medical staff for volunteer teams.
- Phil Drake of Providence World Ministries helps run a clinic in Comayagua meeting dental, vision, and surgical needs.
- Karla Posantes and Kyle Huhtanen of PREDISAN in Catacamas works to confront the drug addiction problem in Honduras through the Center for Rehabilitation of Addict Patients, or CEREPA. They are also interested in discussing eye care programs in Olancho and affordable international shipping methods
- Patrick Connell, Krista Brucker, Paola Garcia, and Karla Reyes of Clinica Esperanza in Roatan work to meet community medical needs by providing affordable medical care, coordinating volunteer groups, and collecting localized epidemiological data for HIV and other infectious diseases.
- Rolando Lopez of Studio Rel would like to discuss extending medical and eye teams up the Rio Platano in Wampusirpi and into the Valley of Seco.
Strengthening Social Cohesion
- Carlos Roberto Romero of Zamorano University focuses on strengthening Honduran national identity through cultural richness
- Arturo Sosa of Honduras Tips Magazine helps document the Honduran people and natural resources as a professional photographer
- Deborah Prieskop of Steel Pan Alley in Roatan has developed a music school instructing Honduran youth in Honduran music.
- Johnny Pons and Pastor Alex Montoya of New Life Fellowship help train men to defeat the machismo mentality through community and Christ-centered devotion.
- Jo Ann Swahn of Honduras Good Works spoke about establishing microfinance opportunities for single mothers in the community of El Paraiso.
- Deborah Matherne of El Camino a la Superacion helps facilitate the running of a sewing cooperative for Honduran families throughout the Copan valley.
- Robert Sutton of La Asociacion Nuestros Ahijados would like to discuss ways to identify, eliminate, and prevent human trafficking.
- Glen Evans of Art for Humanity shared helpful insights for small non-profit groups looking to expand their base of individual supporters.
- Otoniel Manley of MENTORS Honduras would like to work with A.H.M.E.N. to develop sustainable microenterprise.
- Kellie Stewart of USAID in Tegucigalpa emphasized non-profit coordination of public/private partnerships in order to earn grant money.
Networking with partners across Honduras connects, rather than separates, the Honduran people via relief and development projects. Working with other groups does not mean abandoning A.H.M.E.N. It means sharing resources to make A.H.M.E.N. stronger! Greater communication stands to help eliminate fundraising dilemmas. Sharing best practices and comprehensive ideas will limit waste of resources. Finally, as a united voluntary force, we can help encourage local, departmental, and national government workers to be more honest and open about working toward universally beneficial development in Honduras. Through communication we can help Hondurans achieve the maximum quality of life all humans deserve.
A.H.M.E.N. and CHIMES strongly cater to the most underserverd sectors of the Honduran population. With this in mind, communication with other humanitarian groups throughout Honduras stands to teach us more effective techniques to serve alongside our Honduran sisters and brothers in the most appropriate and effective manners. Reach out to one of the people or groups mentioned above and help increase our productivity as A.H.M.E.N.
See you at next year's Project Honduras Conference in Copan Ruinas October 18-20, 2012.
Together we are the change!