The Centers of El Hogar

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El Hogar has been rescuing children from lives of hunger and desperation on the streets of Honduras since 1979. We enable them to break the cycle of poverty and unemployment by providing them with a home, a nurturing environment, education and a marketable trade. We operate four different centers in Honduras, which include:

El Hogar de Amor y Esperanza

The Home of Love and Hope

Grades 1-6 – This was the first El Hogar center and has grown from a small rented house in the middle of Tegucigalpa into a four-acre oasis of safety for boys and girls in grades one to six. The campus provides both a home and an education to impoverished children from rural and urban areas of Honduras. Colorful murals painted by volunteers and gardens make this campus a home full of hope and joy.

Children are in academic classes through early afternoon and then attend enrichment workshops, such as silk screening, baking, hair cutting, and art, in the afternoons. Students also play soccer (futbol), learn traditional dance, and study music.

Director Claudia Castro heads the staff and the campus includes a dormitory, classrooms, dental clinic, kitchen and cafeteria, volunteer house, medical clinic, art room, bodega (storage), computer lab, administrative offices, and an auditorium. There is no chapel on the property, so children go to nearby St. Mary’s Episcopal Church on Sunday mornings.

Although the Farm and Technical School close during the school break (November through January), the elementary campus is always open. This allows older boys and girls who need housing during the break to stay there and mentor the younger children. Some of the elementary children go to their homes during school breaks and weekends, but about half need to stay on our campus because they either have no place to go, or their home conditions are unhealthy or unsafe.

Instituto Tecnico Santa Maria

St. Mary’s Technical Institute

Grades 7-9 – The Technical Institute (ITSM) – located on eight acres of land in the Amarateca Valley – is home to over 60 boys in grades seven to nine. Under the supervision of Director Lazaro Juarez, the boys study a full academic curriculum and attend workshops specializing in one of three areas: carpentry, welding, and electrical work (includes appliance repair). There is room for future growth into a fourth workshop area, which is earmarked for automobile repair and possibly refrigeration.

ITSM was previously located next to St. Mary’s Episcopal Church (hence its name) in Tegucigalpa, but was relocated to the Amarateca Valley to provide sufficient room to run the program and include additional students in 2007.

At least half of the incoming seventh grade boys come from the El Hogar elementary program. ITSM also accepts young men directly into the program, if they meet certain criteria and pass an entrance exam. The boys live together in a large, modern dorm.

Students produce items including furniture, metal window and gate grills, and other small items. These items are mostly available for sale to the other centers and to visiting volunteers. The chapel and auditorium are also made available to the community and or other groups to rent out for special events.

The campus includes a kitchen and dining hall, dormitory, classrooms, administrative offices, a chapel, an auditorium, and a computer lab. There are also some other outbuildings, which include a caretaker’s house.

Escuela Agricola de Amor y Esperanza

The Agricultural School and Farm

Grades 7-9 – The Agricultural School – located one hour outside of Tegucigalpa in Talanga – is home to over 60 boys in grades seven to nine. The 240-acre farm sits in a quiet and pastoral setting, with views of rolling mountains. Under the supervision of Director Yoni Aguilera, the boys study sustainable agriculture.  After graduation, some continue on with their education or get jobs, and others go back to their own communities to teach sustainable principles to other local farmers.

Each year, a number of boys come from El Hogar’s elementary program, but most enter the program in seventh grade from communities throughout Honduras. All students must meet certain criteria and must also pass an academic exam to be admitted.

Days begin very early before 5 a.m. The boys spend their mornings doing their farm chores and attending workshops, then spend afternoons in academic classes. Students focus their studies on either plant and crop production or animal care. In crop production, they learn relevant farming techniques, such as terrace farming, drip irrigation, and crop rotation. In animal care, the boys work with chickens, goats, sheep, pigs, cows, and tilapia. Fresh food raised at the school helps to feed students at all four El Hogar campuses.

The campus also includes acres of beans, corn, greens, bananas, mangos, and other vegetables and fruits. There are over 15 staff members, including academic teachers, farm instructors, workers, and cooks. The campus includes a chapel, kitchen, dining hall, dormitories, classrooms, administrative offices, a computer lab, and a soccer pitch for recreation.

La Casa de Niñas El Hogar

El Hogar for High School Girls

Grades 7-11 – The newest of the El Hogar campuses, the residence is nestled on a hillside in the small town of Santa Lucia, just outside of Tegucigalpa. The girls – in grades seven to eleven (with an option to continue on to twelfth grade) – live together on the three-acre campus, which includes a house, three apartments, and out buildings. A house parent lives with the girls and the campus includes a vegetable garden, fruit trees, and expansive valley views. The girls attend a local private school called Virginia Sapp.

The secondary school program for El Hogar’s girls began in January 2013 with the first six girls who graduated from sixth grade at the El Hogar elementary program. Each year, as approximately five more girls graduate from sixth grade, they will add to the number living at the Girls’ House, until the site’s capacity of 25 students and several staff is reached.

The girls have the option to attend high school through eleventh or twelfth grade. At Virginia Sapp, they receive a strong academic education, as well as preparation for University. The girls also remain very connected to the El Hogar community, participating in all events involving the other centers.