Jardines del Norte—Ready to Soar

(May 2017) Jardines del Norte is a community of about 2,000 people in one of the poorer areas of Honduras. Six years ago, families in this community were desperately looking for help. Children were not attending school consistently. The community lacked access to proper sanitation and clean water. Community members had to carry water by hand for long distances. Many people obtained water from small springs that were unprotected and yielded contaminated water. During the dry season, they often didn’t have access to water at all. Children were malnourished. Parents in the community lived day by day, unsure what tomorrow would bring for their families. Access to education was minimal, and many children were illiterate. Families were searching for a chance to break out of poverty and create better opportunities for themselves and their children. Our love for the people in Jardines del Norte began in 2010 during an introductory visit. Through our partnership with Feed The Children, we established a relationship to help the community develop self-sustainability for years to come. Since 2011, we have seen hope sparkle in the eyes of the children and their parents. Citizens work together to create better opportunities for everyone. The daily interaction with Feed The Children mentors has created confidence and a sense of self-worth for citizens because they know that someone cares about them. The programs and opportunities provided by Foundation 4Life have propelled this community to where they are today. It’s an honor to see the joy on their faces each time they conquer personal challenges and position themselves for greater success. (February 2011) The snip of a pair of scissors sent this community soaring during the ribbon-cutting celebration for the Foundation 4Life community center. Children come each school day to receive warm meals and vital nutrition. Adults volunteer to serve meals to the children, and they also come for classes that help them gain greater self-reliance. One of the most critical components of the community center was the new clean water system. There is clean water for cooking, cleaning, and hand-washing. Families also come to the community center to collect water for their needs. Mothers attend classes to learn how to make baked goods, jewelry, piñatas, and Christmas decorations. Classes and workshops are free of charge and help build confidence, camaraderie, and accomplishment, giving the women new opportunities to generate income for their families. (April 2013) We helped construct bathrooms and hand-washing stations to improve hygiene and sanitation. Beyond the higher level of cleanliness, children no longer have to wait in long lines to use the single bathroom at the Marco Aurelio Soto School. Previously, children would walk home to use the bathroom, often not returning. With more bathrooms, children stay in school the entire day. (April 2013) Prior to Foundation 4Life involvement, there was an abundance of trash surrounding the community. Adults and children alike discarded trash in random places instead of properly disposing it. A community trash disposal and recycling program was made possible with the sponsorship of an incinerator in the community. Citizens now properly dispose of their garbage, and they have learned the value of recycling certain materials. The recycling program also offers a way for mothers to generate income for their families. They devote some of these funds to support the community center. (April 2013) A gardening class was introduced to the fourth and fifth grade students at the school. Our sponsorship of a beautiful garden area, complete with a watering system and sun shade, allows the students to learn about the value of growing food for sustainability. Kids learn responsibility and teamwork, while applying practical gardening skills. Responsibilities for the gardens include everything from planting to harvesting, with individual tasks shared among the students. Once harvested, food from the garden supplements the daily meals at the community center. The lessons learned have helped mothers in the community grow food for their families. The community garden has become another gathering place for children and adults to learn and take pride in providing for the next generation. (April 2015) Years into our sponsorship, there was a greater zeal for life and a deeper sense of hope for the future. This motivated more adults to send their children to school, and more children wanted to attend. With increased attendance, plus recognition of the school by local government agencies, it was necessary to expand the capacity of the school. Two additional classrooms with air conditioners were built for fourth and fifth grade students, including new desks and white boards, and a closet for the teacher to secure supplies. These classrooms allow more children to attend school close to home, which is a major factor in continuing their education. Students from the Foundation 4Life-sponsored Productive Carpentry School in Omoa, a nearby city, made the desks for the new classrooms. (August 2016) The pinnacle of our sponsorship connected the community to the world! A brand-new computer lab at the school was built so that children and adults could learn valuable computer skills and be in touch with the rest of the world through the internet. Older students, especially those in junior high and high school, come to the lab to complete their homework. Previously, students couldn’t complete assignments. They didn’t have the same opportunities as other kids; they felt discouraged by their inability to do the homework; and they often stopped going to school to avoid embarrassment. The computer lab has over 30 computers, a secure and tightly monitored internet connection, a climate-controlled environment to protect the equipment from the extreme heat and humidity, and a teacher who guides the students. Mothers also use the computers to track their home-based businesses, access the internet to sell the goods they hand-make, and help their children with homework. In addition to all of these new programs, Foundation 4Life provided backpacks and school uniforms to the neediest children each school year. The Foundation also provided transportation scholarships to the older children who attend school outside the community. Funding also provided nutrition, vitamins, and de-worming medicine to support children's health and give them greater opportunities to stay in school. Choloma Mayor Leopoldo Eugenio Crivelli Durvant stated: “Jardines del Norte is ready! As a mother hen must know when to let her chicks fly, it is time for Jardines del Norte to use the tools and lessons they have received from Feed The Children and Foundation 4Life to fly on their own. Today, Jardines del Norte is a strong community. Together, the families are ready to carry forth all they have learned to continue building prosperity for generations to come.” Together with Feed The Children, Foundation 4Life has provided the people of Jardines del Norte with resources, tools and knowledge to help them achieve a level of self-reliance. It has been a team effort to elevate the community to new heights over the past six years. Foundation 4Life has truly built a legacy of service in Jardines del Norte, and is ready to make its mark in new areas of the world!