Heart for Hope Projects
Children's Dental Program
Heart for Hope supports the work of Cadena de Amor in 15 community grade schools, which range in size from 200 to nearly 800 kids. We have found that our approach to dental care and dental education works, and here are the reasons why:
• Cadena de Amor has learned how important is to have a clinic at least every two years in each school. The dental teams provide ongoing regular dental treatment for students, and the visits allow our dental education message to reach the them regularly. This has resulted in marked improvement in the overall oral hygiene and health of the children. It is so rewarding to our dentists to find that children who have been in the program for six years seldom need significant dental treatment.
• Heart for Hope and Cadena de Amor require that the school and the community understand and support our program. Teachers are asked to continue to reinforce proper dental hygiene on a monthly basis, and we only work with schools that will commit to supporting our work. We also ask the community to provide some financial help for our teams. Sometimes this help comes in the form of a truck to haul our supplies; other communities help us locate proper lodging for our team. We appreciate the supportive village leaders who help augment our message to parents and teachers.
• For many years, each of the teams has included international volunteers who helped to financially support the week of work in a village. We are actively working toward a more sustainable future for our programs in which Honduran dentists, employed by Cadena de Amor, are the principal care providers and instructors. We would welcome your support during this transitional time; please consider donating to help ensure this program can continue to serve the children of Honduras. Click here!
Secondary School Dental Clinics
Dr. John Spomer has provided dental care to the Colegio (high school) of San Juancito for 10 years. Most of these students have received dental care and education during their grade school years, and Dr. Spomer has found that these older children seldom require complex dental treatment. They may have some problems with crowded teeth or less frequently, fractured teeth due to trauma, but large cavities are a rarity. If youngsters can have healthy teeth and gums up to the age of 18, the odds are high that they can maintain healthy teeth for most if not all their adult life. In addition, if they see the value of a healthy smile, they are likely to pass this appreciation of good oral hygiene to their kids. Cadena de Amor is now evaluating the possibility of expanding this secondary school program to other villages. Again, school support and community assistance will be important for its success.
Basic Home Building Projects
Once or twice a year in conjunction with our contacts in these villages, we have undertaken building and furnishing a small house. Women with several children are often the ones that need our help. The houses are usually of adobe with stucco walls, concrete floors and metal roofs. We hire local builders to erect these simple structures. Our volunteers usually build several pieces of furniture for the home during the week of a dental clinic. Our total cost is often under $5,000, but the families who move into them are thrilled to have a good roof, sturdy walls, and durable floors.
Several years ago, we noted that the local grade school had a simple computer lab with about 10 PCs, but no instructors. Working with both Cadena de Amor and Fundacion San Juancito, a simple program was developed to teach computer use and keyboard skills. To complement this online education, we arranged for high school students to come to the grade school during their time off and instruct the grade school kids on the proper use of computers and keyboards. We also hire a supervisor to monitor the program and gift small sums to the high school on behalf of their students. This project benefits all of the students involved; the high school students especially seem to enjoy their time as teachers!
Heart for Hope continues to provide some funds for Fundación San Juancito. During the past decade, a ceramics shop has been created, and the artisan building has had much-needed repair and improvement. Funds have also been donated to purchase or build more advanced equipment for firing pottery, melting glass, and other artisanal activities.
Sewer Treatment Plant
Heart for Hope played a significant role in building a sewer treatment facility for San Juancito. Before the plant was built, raw sewage was dumped directly into the local mountain stream. Few facilities like this exist in Honduras, and Heart for Hope continues to monitor the maintenance of the plant. The testing reports for the water exiting the plant have been quite good for a number of years. If the opportunity becomes available, it would be nice to expand the capacity of the facility to serve more of the surrounding community.