WHAT REALLY HAPPENED DURING MY RECENT TRIP BACK TO HONDURAS

I am going to use this post to ask a big favor from each and every one of you. The favor will be at the end, so please take a minute to read this short story and then another minute to do the favor Jim and I ask.

From Last Day at Casa del Nino
From Last Day at Casa del Nino

To update some people that may not know our story. My husband, Jim, and I spent all of 2009 volunteering at an orphanage in La Ceiba, Honduras. I wanted to return to visit the boys and the following is what happened.

First, let me tell you this, Feed the Children is a religious large non-profit based out of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. It is riddled with problems such as:

– A Coup of the President
– Corruption
– Mis-use of funds.

– Has continuously received an F grade from American Institute of Philanthropy since we began rating this charity in 1995.
– Only 21 to 23 percent of its cash budget is spent on program services and $63 to $65 is spent to raise each $100 cash contribution.

It has even been titled, “Most Outrageous Charity in America” by American Institute of Philanthropy.

And now, even worse in my book, Feed the Children has cut off volunteers from going to the Casa Del Nino Orphanage in La Ceiba, Honduras. That includes return volunteers and groups of any kind, including church groups on a mission. The only volunteers that go to see the boys now are a small group that goes twice a year for around 10 days tops through a costly Feed the Children program. So the other 50 weeks a year, every afternoon the boys sit around doing nothing, playing amongst each other or watching TV, instead of getting extra educational, self-esteem, team building, skill enhancing, health oriented, leadership building activities lead by some really great volunteers, including myself and my husband, Jim, who also spent a year with them, thank you very much.

From Last Day at Casa del Nino
From Last Day at Casa del Nino

I have not gotten a straight answer from Feed the Children, the Director of Casa Del Nino, other staff, another long term (13 years) local volunteer (who fortunately can still volunteer there) or even the children at the orphanage, as to why they have taken this away from the boys. What I do know is that Feed the Children has had a lot of problems from the top down, and that I just do not trust them.

My heart has been broken for months over this, and with my recent return to Honduras, it has been torn apart all over again. I was not allowed to visit the boys. I was not even allowed through the locked door into the ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE! When I went there the director was not there. I had to sneak by the fenced-in yard in a taxi, just to see and talk to the boys through the fence. The watchman who is a dear old guy let me talk to them for around 10 minutes, but then had to shoo-me off in fear of losing his job. Another staff that I know, did not even get up to say, “Hi!” to me. I was trying to explain to the staff, “I am not here to volunteer; I am just here to visit the boys and give them craft and activity supplies!”

They just said, “I am sorry, you can’t come in!” In the short time I had with the boys, I shoved puzzles, a colorful paper airplane book, maze books and yarn for bracelet making through the fence to the boys. I am not even sure they will be able to keep those supplies!

Our Christmas tree this year was decorated with over 20 woven bracelets the boys at Casa del Nino had made for us. I may not be able to spend time with MY boys, but they are not forgotten! Please help us see them again and make a difference in their lives!

From 2010_12_06

To make this situation even worse, as I was trying to explain to the boys that Feed the Children and the Director won’t let me back to volunteer, the little ones kept on saying over and over again to me, “But when will you come back?” and “When are you coming IN to see us?” I just cried and said, “I love you and miss you very much!”

    THIS IS AN OUTRAGE!

From Our Last Week at Casa Del Nino
From Our Last Week at Casa Del Nino

And now comes the favor Jim and I ask of you. I have tried other routes, but no one seems to really care about these 35 particular boys enough to write about in their newspapers or report on their TV shows.

So please, EVERY ONE of you, send the following email (or write your own) to the email addresses I have provided below for staff at Feed the Children. Feel free to write your own email, or add more information or your own personal comments as well!

I hope to get at least 100 emails sent to them regarding this situation, but wish for even more with your help!

Please, on top of sending the email, post the link to this blog on your Facebook page and email it to all your friends, family and workmates.

One person CAN make a difference, so each one of you please be that ONE PERSON for us.

Emails:

leo.fundaro@feedthechildren.org, dwight.powers@feedthechildren.org, rick.england@feedthechildren.org, wayne.anderson@feedthechildren.org, mark.beeson@feedthechildren.org, mark.crow@feedthechildren.org, paul.osteen@feedthechildren.org, info@feedthechildren.org, Charlotte.Roach@feedthechildren.org, Catherine.Ware@feedthechildren.org,
Steve.Whetstone@feedthechildren.org, monica.linville@feedthechildren.org, scott.morrison@feedthechildren.org

To Whom It May Concern,

I have two friends that are very giving people. They spent a year volunteering at your orphanage, Casa Del Nino, in La Ceiba Honduras. They not only brought all their own supplies for activities, they also helped put together a computer room at the orphanage. They taught English, math, computer skills, baseball, crafts, and they even taught the children that it is okay to trust adults. Yes, some of those children had been abused, neglected and abandoned by adults and to trust another one is not an easy thing.

Volunteers such as these are what make life for kids in developing country orphanages more bearable. Yes, the children have a roof over their heads, beds, food and even schooling when the teachers are not on strike, but what they are often missing is someone to offer them activities that teach important skills in life, assist with their homework, to provide individual attention, to tell them they did a great job, and to give them a hug when they need it. The staff may be paid to do these things and others to aid in the childrens development but they do not.

You learn the real truth of what happens in an orphanage after spending a year or more there. You see it all, some great some not so great. Well, the not so great things did not turn my friends away from the orphanage. These are children, not prisoners with visitation rights that have been revoked.

Feed the Children not allowing Volunteers to work, or even visit, with the boys at the orphanage did not turn my friends away. Your policy of not allowing volunteers at the Casa del Nino Orphanage in La Ceiba, Honduras is not a good one. You are punishing the boys and those boys do not know why. My friends do not know why as well because no staff at Feed the Children including the Director at Casa del Nino, National Honduras Director, the orphanage staff nor the boys living there have been able to tell my friends why they are being turned away.

The boys at Casa del Nino are now thinking they are being let down by yet another adult and not because my friends do not care enough to visit them again, but because they are being shunned away like common criminals by the staff. They went back and they were not even allowed in the office! What would you do after spending 12 months of your life with a group of boys you’ve come to know and love? You must have a reason for blocking all volunteers but I think eroding the benefits of the orphans must be in direct conflict with the mission of the orphanage.

I am, along with hundreds of other people, are pleading that you re-think this policy that just hurts the children and everyone involved. The children have less positive things to do after school, after chores and homework are done. Without volunteers, the staff have more responsibilities on their hands, including the Director. The children are more likely to get into trouble and run away. And the volunteers, that just want to provide activities and bring happiness to the lives of boys that may not have any family or are living far away from them, are being turned away.

Feed the Children has a lot of marks against them as an organization; please do not add this mistake to the list. Let dedicated volunteers, such as my friends Dawn and Jim, and many others return to contribute to the healthy growth of the boys. These people have already proven to be caring, good, responsible people. The boys want the volunteers to return. The volunteers want to return. Why turn your back to their money, supplies and time? Please take appropriate action to demonstrate the interest of the children is your top priority.

Sincerely,

___________________

THANK YOU EVERY ONE FOR READING OUR BLOG! And thank you even more for sending out this email and for sending out our plea to all your friends and family too!

HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL OF YOU!

From Online Edits

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~ by HenderBalz on January 18, 2011.

10 Responses to “WHAT REALLY HAPPENED DURING MY RECENT TRIP BACK TO HONDURAS

  1. Oh man! That is horrible! I will write to them, it makes no sense.

  2. I sent the email! I wish you all the best with your challenge!

  3. Dawn,
    I have been waiting for this blog. You know I will write!

  4. I will write too. How very sad!

  5. Im sorry I didn’t get a chance to read all of this ^^^ but I am from La Ceiba and would like to join hands and help in any way possible. Contact me ASAP!!!! Please do!!!

  6. Its really sad to see how many children here in La Ceiba have no home to go to, no parents to care and provide for them. A place like casa del niño should be a place where at least a small group of children can get the care they need. Instead they become just a tool to get more money that will never be used in providing them with what they need to have a better life. My email has been sent and I really hope together we can make a difference.

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