In the town of El Progreso, in Honduras, the Dutch organisation Homeless Child runs a shelter for homeless children. These children are usually severely traumatised and about 15% have a physical or developmental disability.
When new children arrived, they always used to go straight into the same building as the other children, including the youngest children. This was not an ideal situation. The change to a life of structure, education and protection is a huge step for homeless children. The little ones adapt quickly and soon flourish.
The older children struggle a bit more to get their motor going. They really want to make the most of their new opportunity! But the streets and the drugs have had them in their grip for longer and are holding them back. They have trouble concentrating, see the structure as restrictive and feel like failures for not being able to spell their name at the age of 13. One child asked to be called “Bin” because he felt like less than rubbish.
These two different groups used to eat, live, and learn together, 24 hours a day. They were forced into close quarters and this negatively affected each groups progress. The youngest felt they were being held back by the older group. They are so eager to learn and to embrace the change. Often they were also scared of the older children. Meanwhile, the older children see the swift progress the younger ones make as frustrating. They want the same thing! But they just need a little extra time to leave behind the drugs and the “freedom” of the streets.
The new building allows the two groups to be separated, giving them breathing room. It also expands the capacity by 20%. The two groups get individual attention, tailored to their own needs and specific to their progress. As you can see in the pictures, the children love their beautiful new house. The Marthe van Rijswijck Foundation is proud to have contributed to this wonderful project.