Children's Dental Program
Heart for Hope is supporting the work of Cadena de Amor in 15 community grade schools. The schools range in size from about 200 to some approaching 800 kids. The program is based on several important criteria that have made a significant difference in the oral health of children. First of all, Cadena has found that it is important to have a clinic at least every two years in each school. This allows our dental education message to reach the students regularly. The dental teams can also provide ongoing regular dental treatment for the school population. The result of this approach has brought a marked improvement in the overall oral hygiene and health of the children. Often the boys and girls in the sixth grade seldom do not need significant treatment if they have been in the program for all 6 years. Additional important criteria require that both the school and the community support and understand the value of our program. We need the teachers to continue to reinforce proper dental hygiene on a monthly basis. We only work with schools that will commit to supporting our work. Furthermore, we ask the community to provide some financial help for our teams. Often this is a truck to haul our supplies and also to help us locate proper lodging for our team. The support of the village leadership helps to augment our message to the parents and teachers. In the early years, all of the teams included international volunteers that helped to financially support the week in a village. We are now seeking to fundraise in order that teams of only Honduran dentists that are employees of Cadena de Amor to be the principal care providers and instructors. This emphasis will undoubtedly increase over time and is the proper way to maintain a long term commitment to these village schools.
Secondary School Dental Clinics
Dr. John Spomer has provided dental care to the Colegio or high school of San Juancito for 10 years. As these kids have received care during their grade school years, he has found that these older children seldom require complex dental treatment. They may have some problems with crowded teeth and occasionally fractured teeth due to trauma, but carious lesions of large size are a rarity. If they 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 in order to achieve success.
Basic Home Building Projects
Once or twice a year in conjunction with our contacts in these villages, we have undertaking building and furnishing a small house. Single women with several children are often the ones that need our help. The houses are usually of adobe with concrete stucco, 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 $4,000, but the women who move into them are thrilled to have a good roof, walls, and floors. They see them as their little castles.
Projects in village of San Juancito
: The local grade school had a simple computer lab with about 10 PCs, but not instructors. Working with both Cadena de Amor and Fundacion San Juancito, a simple program was completed to teach computer use and keyboard skills. We arrange 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 hire a supervisor to monitor the program and gift small sums to the high school on behalf of their students. This is a win/win for all, and the high school students seem to enjoy their time as teachers. Heart for Hope continues to provide a limited amount of funds to Fundación San Juancito. Over the past ten years, a ceramics shop has been created, the artisan building has had much-needed repair and improvement. Also, funds have been donated to purchase or build more advanced equipment for baking pottery, melting glass, and other artisan activities.
Sewer Treatment Plant
Heart for Hope plays a significant role in the process of providing a sewer treatment facility for San Juancito. Before the raw sewage was dump directly into the local mountain stream. Truthfully, few facilities like this exist in much of Honduras. 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.