Educate 50 Kids with Disabilities in Honduras

by Un Mundo
Educate 50 Kids with Disabilities in Honduras
Educate 50 Kids with Disabilities in Honduras
Educate 50 Kids with Disabilities in Honduras
Educate 50 Kids with Disabilities in Honduras
Educate 50 Kids with Disabilities in Honduras
Educate 50 Kids with Disabilities in Honduras
Educate 50 Kids with Disabilities in Honduras
Educate 50 Kids with Disabilities in Honduras
Educate 50 Kids with Disabilities in Honduras
Educate 50 Kids with Disabilities in Honduras
Educate 50 Kids with Disabilities in Honduras
Educate 50 Kids with Disabilities in Honduras
Reli in her rooftop garden
Reli in her rooftop garden

Far too often, our struggles are the very things that isolate us.

Doña Reli has suffered inordinate tragedy in her life. Both of her children died as young adults; her son was felled by the bullet of a criminal and her daughter passed away during a complicated childbirth. Her daughter’s baby survived but has the rare neurodevelopmental disorder Rett syndrome, which severely affects the brain and limits numerous aspects of development. Reli’s granddaughter, named Mercy, often seems to be lost in a faraway world, where sometimes even a grandmother’s powerful love can’t reach her. 

As for Doña Reli, the constant care and attention that Mercy needs isolate her from the rest of her community. Mercy typically needs help even in the middle of the night, and the demanding routine along with the emotional weight of her granddaughter’s condition make Reli quite tired and, sometimes, quite alone. 

But, for five years, Mercy and Reli have benefitted from Un Mundo’s Special Education and Health program, which brings specialized care straight to their home multiple times a week and enables them to travel to San Pedro Sula for neurological and other medical examinations at minimal cost. “It’s clear that Mercy has improved a lot,” says Reli with tears in her eyes, “and Un Mundo truly has helped me a great deal.”

What’s more, through her participation in the parents’ committee that oversees and contributes to the work of the project, Doña Reli has discovered that she is never alone. “I’ve learned to appreciate the sacrifices of each parent,” she notes, explaining that the project has opened her eyes to the struggles of other families around her. With the families of more than 50 children benefitting from the project, Reli finds motivation to keep fighting for the health and happiness of her grandchild.

It is only through the collaboration of generous donors like you that Un Mundo is able to empower loving people like Doña Reli to give their children, grandchildren, nieces, and nephews with disabilities the rich, joyful lives that they deserve. Please consider giving to the project once more if you're able, or keep your eyes peeled for opportunities to contribute to Un Mundo on Giving Tuesday, December 1. If you’re not already part of our email list, sign up through our website or Facebook page. We’re honored that you’re a part of the Un Mundo team, and we aspire to continue changing lives for the better with your help.

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Serafin, a very bright student making great gains
Serafin, a very bright student making great gains

For many of us, it’s tough to imagine what it would be like to grow up with a physical or mental disability. For those of us who live in wealthy countries like the United States, it’s even more difficult to imagine having a disability and being shut out of the school system — being told that no one will support you in getting an education, in working toward your goals, or in learning to interact with other kids. In Honduras, even though public schools are legally required to practice inclusive education, in reality, children with disabilities are consistently turned away.

It was with the desire to correct this human rights abuse that Un Mundo’s education program for young people with disabilities was founded in 2009, and in its six years of operation the benefits for children in the Cangrejal River valley have been enormous. More than 70 children with disabilities in small communities throughout the valley have been welcomed into schools for the first time, making exponential cognitive, social, and emotional gains and lifting up the overall quality of the public school environment along with them. A team of seven local volunteers receive training to give special attention to children in schools and at home, and local teachers, students, and families learn how to accept and support people whose abilities are different from their own.

Serafín, a seven-year-old boy with quadriplegia living in the tiny community of El Japón, is one child who has made tremendous strides. While he has never been able to speak or move on his own, he has learned in recent years to communicate using nonverbal signals as well as to move one hand and lift his head. Margot, a local volunteer who has been an invaluable support for Serafín in overcoming physical challenges, lights up when she sees Serafín make a gesture to correctly answer a question or to alert her to something he needs. Margot believes that every child has the potential to learn, and she delights in reporting to Serafín’s family signs of his obvious intelligence. Without the support of a well-trained volunteer like Margot, Serafín might never have had the opportunity to let his bright mind and playful spirit shine. With her help, Serafín will continue growing as well as demonstrating to others in his community that his physical capabilities don’t limit his ability to learn.

The success of Un Mundo’s education program for children with disabilities for young people like Serafín is due in large part to the generosity of donors like you. Thank you for believing in these children’s potential and for giving them the freedom to learn. Please consider making another donation to enable the project’s continued success. And don’t forget to spread the word!

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Marta at school with her mother
Marta at school with her mother

Maria, a local midwife in the region had seen the positive results of other local children in her community over the years through the Special Needs project (CSEHP). When she heard about the situation of one of her grandchildren, Marta, she requested that Marta come to live with her so that she could be part of the Special Needs Project. Marta’s mother agreed and brought Marta to the Cangrejal Valley, just in time to start the academic year in 2014, as one of the newest participants in the CSEHP. Marta, age 11, was bound to a wheelchair and could not walk, due to distortion in her legs, knees and feet. She had never studied and had no self-esteem. After conducting various evaluations and conversations with her grandmother, it was determined that Marta’s challenges were caused by many years of physical abuse and her extremities being tied down for extended periods of time.

Being in a new environment had a positive impact on Marta. However, she still encountered further obstacles when the local school where her grandmother lived resisted admitting her due to her age and disability. While the school eventually accepted Marta as a result of Un Mundo’s advocacy efforts to integrate students with disabilities into the public schools, she initially was significantly marginalized. Timid and afraid at the start, through support and motivation with the Un Mundo volunteer specialists, she slowly began to gain self-esteem. Throughout the year, her physical therapy helped her further strengthen her legs, and by mid-year she was practicing taking steps without her wheelchair. Today, Marta is in the 2nd grade, she is able to walk slowly to and from school by herself, and is beginning to learn to read and write. She has been significantly integrated into the school and has many friends who accompany her to school each day and help her up and down the stairs. Her resilience and willingness to push herself beyond her comfort level has made her an inspiration so that not only Marta and her family believe what is possible but also the larger community who has witnessed her transformation.

Marta with Occupational Therapist
Marta with Occupational Therapist
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Guillermo at school
Guillermo at school

Guillermo is one of the original children that formed part of the Cangrejal Special Education and Health Program (CSEHP) back in 2010. Son to a single mother, Guillermo has epilepsy and cerebral palsy, which cause physical disabilities particularly affecting mobility in his legs and feet. He has also demonstrated global delays and learning disabilities. With Un Mundo's help, Guillermo received major surgery in 2012 on his foot and leg, elongating his Achilles tendon which has helped him walk better and improve his body balance. He recently completed 5 years as a project participant, and has made significant improvements through his participation in the CSEHP, particularly this past year.

After 4 years studying at the school for special education, at age 13, Guillermo entered the 1st grade in a traditional school in his community in 2014. This year he has mastered basic reading, writing, adding, subtraction, multiplication and division, well beyond the level of his fellow students. Being in a traditional school has transformed Guillermo’s social skills and drastically increased his self-esteem. He is more extroverted and relates better with others. In fact he has become very popular with other students, especially due to his advanced intelligence and maturity, and is often called upon to tutor and help other classmates. In return other students help him mobilize himself around the school grounds, help him when he falls, or accompany him to his house. Guillermo has also discovered he has many artistic talents, learning to draw and paint very well. He had the opportunity to take a music class with Un Mundo in 2013, which was a special experience, given his passion for singing. With this new level of acceptance in his community and excelling academically, Guillermo has gained a new level of independence as he moves into his teenage years, walking himself to school, running errands for his mother and making new friends.

Un Mundo's Cangrejal Special Education and Health Program (CSEHP) has a three prong process to support children living with disabilities in Honduras:

1) Special Education. In 2014, Un Mundo recruited, trained and placed 5 volunteers in each local public school to support the teachers and students, and 14 Un Mundo students completed the year.

2) Health and Rehabilitation. Un Mundo facilitated access to annual medical exams, medications, and surgery or health treatment, and in-home rehabilitation visits, providing services such as physical and language therapy for 10 individuals.

3) Special Needs Association (SNA). The SNA has taken on an increased role this year, working closely with the volunteers and teachers as their children are integrated into the local public schools.

Guillermo studying
Guillermo studying
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Dayana at school
Dayana at school

Dayana has been an active member in the Un Mundo Cangrejal Special Education and Health Program (CSEHP) in the Cangrejal Valley in Honduras since 2009.

Dayana has Global Delays, which can include problems with language or speech, vision, movement -- motor skills, social and emotional skills, and thinking -- cognitive skills. Often no cause can be found. Through her participation in CSEHP, Dayana has learned numerous letters of the alphabet and can write her name. She is speaking clearer, and has increased her knowledge.

Dayana entered the 2nd grade in the traditional school in her community in 2014. Her behavior in school and at home has improved and she has learned to help with house chores and care for herself. She has become more friendly and sociable, and has a lot of interest and talent in art and music.

Dayana has made additional advances this year. She has learned to recognize and write her first and last name, the first five letters of the alphabet, and knows the reading sounds ma, me, mi, mo, mu, pa, pe, pi, po, pu. She also has learned a song with the days of the week. In math, she can count from 5 – 9 and can write 1-3, and has begun to add using objects. She has learned how to identify and distinguish between humans, animals and plants. Since transitioning into the local school, her mother has noticed a significant difference in her self-esteem in her community and with children without disabilities. She used to be very timid and afraid to go outside or play with other children in her neighborhood, and was very non-verbal. Now she is now more comfortable associating and playing with kids beyond just her family, she is more talkative and expressive and more adventurous and is developing more independence.

Dayana said, “I love going to school. It is fun to learn new things, to be with other children and to sing.”

Un Mundo's Cangrejal Special Education and Health Program (CSEHP) has a three prong process to support children living with disabilities: Special Education, Health and Rehabilitation, and Parent Advocacy Network.

Dayana helps the Parent Network
Dayana helps the Parent Network
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Un Mundo

Location: Menlo Park, CA - USA
Website:
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Project Leader:
Elly Goetz
Mountain View, CA United States
$12,170 raised of $15,000 goal
 
181 donations
$2,830 to go
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