We’ve been working with Nuestros Pequenos Hermanos in Honduras, home to 700 children, since January to reduce their water and power consumption, but it’s only part of the answer. Water shortages during the dry season are forcing them to sell or kill their livestock and buy vegetables at a substantially higher cost.
There is a partial solution involving a dam at the orphanage that collects runoff water from the mountain behind it. Engineers have determined that if we raise it by 2 meters we can extend their water supply by 4-6 weeks. The problem is they can’t afford the $16,000 needed to build it.
Extra water from the dam could push them past the dry season, allowing them to irrigate their crops like corn, king grass and sorghum for their cattle, rather than the current practice of relying on sugar cane – the only thing that survives the lack of water. The problem with sugar cane is a lack of protein.
Improving feed will increase milk production by up to 20% and allows the orphanage to reduce the number of dairy cows necessary for milk and cheese or creates a surplus they can sell in the local village. Enough water during the dry season will increase the production of vegetables, saving money and improving the health of the children.
In February of 2016 The World Orphan Fund launched a new transition program in Tegucigalpa, Honduras to help orphaned children reintegrate into Honduran society. Very few orphanages have a transition program and the results can be tragic. Children leaving homes without marketable skills or transition support have an alarming failure rate, resorting to crime, prostitution and gangs simply to survive.
Cathrine Sorenson, who began working with children, youth, adults with special needs and the homeless in Denmark in 2004, will oversee the program. She recently oversaw the Youth Community and Transition Project at Orphanage Emmanuel in Guaimaca.
The new program seeks to prepare children to be confident and competent young adults who can responsibly take care of their own lives.
The system will consist of smaller houses with room for four youth each, with separate houses for girls and boys. Each home will have a house supervisor who will be a Christian role model and someone they can come to with questions or problems. Supervisors will be young adults studying or working while living in the house and therefore show how to manage a life with studies or job by example. They will live at the house full time for free and be paid a small salary.
In addition to the two houses, the program will eventually have satellite apartments where youth will live in pairs in different areas of Tegucigalpa. Some will be able to move directly into the satellite apartments, while others will spend at least 6-12 months in the transition homes. All youth, regardless of where they live and their academic level, will have a tutor connected to help them in their daily life and in their studies or job situations.
Youth will stay connected to the program through their entire study or until they feel ready to stand on their own, but are expected to to live on their own within the first year. They will be expected to find employment and contribute toward their own living expenses.
The program, begins it’s second year in August of 2017. Annual funding need: $150,000.
Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos (NPH) serves a population of approximately 600 people, 500 children and 100 staff and volunteers. The orphanage is located on over 2,000 acres of land an hour outside Tegucigalapa, Honduras.
When the decline in the value of the euro impacted donations at the same time as increases in wages and benefits mandated by the government, finances became a serious challenge to the home. NPH was forced to consider drastic measures to make ends meet, and a plan was initiated to find permanent savings though reduction of energy costs.
We found most of their energy use is in three key areas, water usage, lighting and refrigeration.
NPH relies on water captured from the mountain during the rainy season, but it became dangerously low during the dry season. This resulted in loss of sustaining vegetables and sources of protein grown at the home. Our plan reduced their water consumption by 10,000,000 gallons a year.
Water usage (pumping) was the largest energy user. We found we could dramatically reduce water use by moving to efficient fixtures. Further savings came from updating lighting and refrigeration. The plan increased efficiency by 38% and lowered the monthly costs for electricity and LP by $2,700.
Bottom line? For an investment of $84,000 we reduced their annual power usage by $33,571, a 2.5 year ROI. And our water efficiency measures are saving 10,000,000 gallons a year.
Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos, a home for 500 children about an hour from Tegucigalpa, was being forced to consider some pretty heart-wrenching choices. With 75 new children, a declining Euro, and a massive increase in the minimum wage in Honduras, they were planning to cut 14 much-needed childcare workers. So the World Orphan Fund send an immediate grant of $18,000 to give them time to recover.
With the Honduran power company going bankrupt, Orphanage Emmanuel in Guaimaca, Honduras saw a 600% increase in the cost of their electricity, from $2,500 a month to $16,000. Our plan dramatically reduced their energy consumption and cost.
We found most of their energy use hinged on four key areas: water usage, lighting, refrigeration and laundry.
Water usage (pumping and heating) was by far the largest energy user. We found we could dramatically reduce water use primarily by moving to efficient fixtures. Further savings came from updating the lighting and highly efficient water heaters and refrigerators. The plan increased efficiency by 65% and lowered the monthly costs for electricity and LP by as much as $8,600.
Bottom line? For an investment of $118,000 we reduced their power usage by $108,000 a year. Thats a 1 year ROI. What’s more, the water efficiency measures will save 10,000,000 gallons of water a year.