Tag Archives: community development

HOI Serving the Community’s Needs

 

It’s safe to say that Rancho el Paraiso has become a community staple in the Agalta Valley region of San Esteban. Villagers travel near and far to receive much needed services from our on-site specialists.  Ranchers come to learn the latest techniques on cattle reproduction, educators may come for a weekend seminar on the best methods for teaching elementary aged children, and families come to learn about growing healthy and sustainable food sources.

But if you’ve ever been to the Ranch, you know that our clinic is by far the busiest and most visited site on the property. Mothers bring their sick children to get much needed medicines, husbands bring their pregnant wives for check ups, and thankfully some community members drop by for preventive care.  We pride ourselves on operating a community clinic that serves the needs of the people with a degree of excellence and at an affordable cost. But we don’t want families to simply come to us.  We enjoy meeting them where they are.

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Recently, Dr. German, the lead physician at the Ranch, and his team traveled to the community of El Pedrero to issue vaccinations. As you may know, vaccines are critical to preventive and long-term health. We often take vaccines for granted; however, they are potentially life saving for individuals and communities as a whole.

If you’d like to learn more about HOI’s ongoing health initiatives in Central America you can read more about it here.  We encourage you to join us in our efforts to help strengthen the health of communities in Honduras and Nicaragua by becoming a Family Health Partner. Through this partnership, you will help Dr. German and the HOI medical team reach many more families to deliver quality healthcare to those in need.

 

Visions for the Future, Major Initiatives Ahead

2016 promises to be a year full of exciting new initiatives and the continuation of ongoing effective ministries. Here is a sneak preview of what’s ahead:

Clean Water at Point of Consumption

There’s a tsunami of clean life-giving water coming! Following the initiatives of the St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church (Dunedin, FL) in Honduras and Comunidad Connect in Nicaragua, HOI has validated that the implementation of in-home water filter systems has a dramatic effect on the reduction of water-borne illnesses in our areas of operation. In response to this acquired knowledge, HOI has launched a major initiative partnering with groups and villages to implement a comprehensive hygiene education and filtered water program for hundreds of families in Honduras and Nicaragua. This effort will be jump-started by a generous grant from GlobalX, funded by the annual North Point Community Church “Be Rich” Campaign. Additional financial support will come from the recently launched Family Health Partnership program ($39 per month if you’d like to join) at HOI, and also from group community development support. The plan is to work with select mission teams to help provide education and materials for this effort. Local participants will commit financial resources and also invest time in training to learn the value of good hygiene, clean water consumption, and care and maintenance of their filters. Teams will help construct support tables and also assemble the filters and buckets for delivery. Our goal in 2016 is to install point of consumption filtration systems in at least 1000 homes. We have enlisted support from public health experts and the CDC to advise and monitor our program and results.

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Honduran family with a water filtration system in their home

Expanding corporate partnerships in Southern Honduras

HOI has executed a third corporate partnership in southern Honduras, joining forces with another outstanding corporate organization that wishes to help improve the lives of the people living in that area of the country. An agreement of mutual support was signed with the Chorotega Foundation, the faith based philanthropic arm of the Chorotega Credit Union in Choluteca that is dedicated to helping start and nurture small businesses in Honduras. Chorotega will assist HOI teams with the logistics of working in the South, and will help our local staff build relationships and partnerships with the people we’ll serve. We hope to send a few teams with our new partner in 2016, so if you’d like to be an early adopter, just let us know. These are wonderful people to work with, as are our initial two partners Agrolibano and LUFUSSA, so we know you will have very rewarding and impactful experiences. We still have room for about 7 more teams with our partners in southern Honduras for 2016 if you’d like to help us in that area.

Camila Reina, HOI Director of Development and Gov't Relations (Honduras); Jerry Eickhoff, HOI CEO; Jorge Nuñez, Chorotega

Camila Reina, HOI Director of Development and Gov’t Relations (Honduras); Jerry Eickhoff, HOI CEO; Jorge Nuñez, Chorotega

Increasing medical support in the South

One of our medical team partners will be making a trip to San Lorenzo and Choluteca in 2016. In addition to these professionals, HOI would like to increase its logistical support to the two major hospitals in the area, Hospital San Lorenzo (HSL), and The Hospital of the South (Hospital del Sur, HDS). HSL is a smaller, well run institution that is becoming a model for the country, due in large part to of the efforts of our partner Agrolibano Foundation and other corporate sponsors.

HDS, on the other hand, is a very large public hospital that is underfunded and in desperate need of additional resources and support. Although the corporate partners are also helping this large organization, they are in need of significantly more resources. Upon a recent visit the massive over-crowding, lack of supplies, and equipment were heartbreaking to witness. The maternity ward, for example, delivers on average about 6,600 babies per year.  As a result of the hospital’s poor conditions, it has become the norm for two women and their new born babies to share a bed with no sheets or pillows. There is also no potable water in the 250 bed hospital. HOI would like to play a catalytic role with local and international resources to help continue improvements at HDS so the health care professionals on staff can be much more effective serving the people of Choluteca.

Our goal is to help both of these hospitals initiate a combined MAP (map.org) medication shipment in early 2016. Agrolibano will arrange the financing fee for this shipment.
We would also like to work with MedShare (medshare.org) for a medical supplies and equipment shipment to the Hospital of the South. We plan to work with Honduran corporate sponsors and other supporters to make this a reality. We are currently working on inventory needs, internal controls, and accountability to ensure efficient implementation.

Expanded educational and sports programs and ministries

Due to the success of our elementary and middle school programs, and growing demand for higher education and skills training in our area of influence, HOI is investigating the feasibility and advisability of developing a high school and career academy near Rancho el Paraiso. The flame of learning has been ignited in Olancho and almost 100% of our Hope Middle School graduates now desire to continue their education beyond the 9th grade. Building on our early economic development successes motivated by our catalytic agent, Smoke Rise Baptist, HOI places a high priority on job creation for the people of Olancho. To that end, our initial thought is that any additional educational offerings should include skills and career training.

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Our evaluation will also consider the potential for a robust faith based athletic program that would be focused on soccer for boys and girls.  We are considering a sports and family life complex that would be used for the school activities, leagues, faith and skills coaching, Young Life, and community gatherings. This planning and review is in its initial stages and there are no determinations yet. However, we wanted each of you to know the types of initiatives we’re considering if you’d like to join us in the effort.

As a wonderful 2015 comes to a close, and an exciting 2016 looms in the future, I wish you all a blessed Holiday Season and a healthy and happy New Year. Thank you for your continued generous support and unceasing prayers.

God bless,

Jerry

Jerry

Jerry Eickhoff
CEO

HOI School Graduation Celebrations

HOI is very proud of its newest elementary and middle school graduates!  Celebration ceremonies were held this past November to honor the accomplishment of these students.

 

 

9th Grade Class

Graduating 9th Grade Class

During the ceremony, students were given the opportunity to speak and share their thoughts. It was a very emotional time as they expressed their gratitude to their parents, teachers and U.S. sponsors.

 

Sponsor Tommy Phelps and 9th Grade Graduate, Wendy Ortiz

Mentor, Tommy Phelps and 9th Grade Graduate, Wendy Ortiz

This year, 98% of our graduating middle school youth are enrolling in a high school!  Through the efforts of our excellent teaching staff and many education supporters in the U.S., the HOI schools are able to provide quality educational experiences that encourage the students and create a love for learning.

This graduating class now has aspirations and dreams to continue in their education process and become successful adults with opportunities for financial security.

2016 will bring new opportunities and challenges to the HOI schools. The education staff is expecting a 25% increase in enrollment!  We are thankful for the opportunity that God has given us to reach so many children and pray that through these efforts they are one day able to provide a better quality of life for their families.

Laurie Willing

Laurie Willing
Executive Director

Letter from the CEO: Feeling Thankful

 

This is the joy and “esperanza” of Christmas, a blessed miracle of the highest order.

In the case of HOI, the appearance of the heavenly hosts wasn’t so “sudden” but they appeared nonetheless, over a period of many years, and for that we are thankful. I saw a quote stating that special education teachers are angels disguised as extraordinary human beings. I believe this to be true, and the same can be said for all those who are dedicated servants of so many ministries like HOI.

2015 has been a year of remarkable advances in the lives of thousands of people in Honduras and Nicaragua, thanks be to God. The staff and partners of HOI are feeling great humility and appreciation for all of you who were a part of making these life-changing efforts a reality.

In Light of these blessings we’ve all received, I want to reflect on the year by highlighting a few, just a few, of the many supporters who have been the angels disguised as extraordinary humans. Knowing it is dangerous to mention only a few because there are so many, gratitude to ALL compels me to take the risk of omission.  I decided to identify a few sources of God’s love for our ministry and those we partner with in the villages of Honduras and Nicaragua. Our heartfelt thanks to:

• The graciousness of the people of Nicaragua and Honduras for accepting us into their homes and hearts as we struggle to discern and follow God’s will.

• The dozens of church partners and the over 1000 mission team members who are on point, on the ground, touching thousands of lives.

• All of our HOI staff members who are dedicated to spreading the light and hope of the Good News, and to helping create a path to improved health, education, and prosperity for all they encounter.

• Our quality partners: in Nicaragua, Comunidad Connect; and in Honduras, Agrolibano Foundation, LUFUSSA, and our new partner Chorotega Foundation.

• Our partnership with Young Life in Honduras, and our fantastic ministry team of Dani and Michael. What a blessing are they!

• The donors, supporters, sponsors, and participants of our events and special fundraising efforts.

• Our mentor and benevolent partner GlobalX.
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• The HAVE Foundation and the Wilderness Team, our generous Education partners.

• The Peugot Center for Engineering Service at the Lipscomb University, for providing the wonderful 104 foot long pedestrian bridge that unites our two school campuses over a busy highway.

• Our specialty teams of health care and dental professionals and veterinarians who administer healing services to people and animals alike to improve the overall health of the communities.

• The musicians, dance instructors, and artists who expand the horizons of the youth and adults they encounter.

• Our hundreds of financial supporters through The Way Forward Campaign, Pathway Scholarship partners, and the new Clean Water initiative of Family Health Partners.

• The team of investors who provided our new tractor and farm implements to allow for expanded agriculture production improving our sustainability.

• The leadership of our HOI Chairman Scott Luttrell (I’ll hear about this, but I rarely get to publically thank our Board) and the entire team of former and current Board Members of HOI for their unbounded generosity and investment of time and talent.

We reflect on the year with hearts full of gratitude for everyone who has prayed, supported, traveled and invested with us. Thank you and God bless you all.

Jerry

Jerry Eickhoff
CEO

Letter from the CEO: Celebrating 25 Years of Miracles and Transformation

 

It seems like just yesterday that Archie Crenshaw, Joe Glenn and I were pulling a van over a muddy mountain trail in rural Honduras trying to get to the Tegucigalpa airport for our flight home. Twenty-five short years ago, that trip was the genesis of an organization that was to change thousands of lives, both North and Central American. I no longer question whether God told Archie to take me to Honduras, but I often wondered for years if he really called Archie to Honolulu!

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Now, twenty-five years later, HOI is celebrating its Silver Anniversary through a series of events in the Decatur and Atlanta area highlighted by a congratulatory visit from President Juan Orlando Hernandez and the First Lady of Honduras, along with a host of other Honduran government officials.  We will also honor four individuals who have supported our organization for many years in quiet, yet powerful, ways: David Allison, Joe Glenn, Barbara McCullough, and Ubaldo Ponce.  You are cordially invited to engage with us on Thursday, November 13, for this festive fundraiser and celebratory evening as we reflect upon our twenty-five years of transformation in Central America. www.hoi.org/rsvp

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HOI’s Rancho el Paraiso, in the Agalta Valley of Honduras, has been the backdrop to countless numbers of miracles over the last twenty-five years.  With God’s grace we continue to see people and communities transformed.  Young Life has established a prominent presence in the Valley and you can literally hear the sounds of joyous youth resonating through the hills.  Medical miracles continue to take place, not the least of which is the near elimination of infant mortality in the area. Recreational organized soccer for boys, girls, men and women is on the way to foster friendships and a greater sense of community. The HOI schools continue to transform the lives of children and give them a brighter hope for the future.  The school grounds themselves have received a face lift that reflects the robust academic environment that has been created and maintained, including a modern computer lab that will allow students to compete more equitably in the global marketplace.  These are but a few of the innumerable miracles we celebrate.

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Over the years, thousands of North Americans have joined in the effort to partner with the people who live in the 130 villages that surround our base in Honduras. Our faith-based approach to sustainable community and economic development, agriculture, education, and healthcare has stood the test of time, now becoming the model for our growth throughout the region. HOI has expanded to northern Nicaragua and southern Honduras to further the impact that began in the Agalta Valley. We are looking for many more teams that are eager to partner with the villagers in these areas, who long for a healthier and more economically sound life. Our mission is to help build up communities through sincere engagement with the people who live there and learning their needs and priorities.  We want to become catalysts of change by providing resources and helping to identify opportunities so residents will have the ability to create communities they are proud and want to remain in to raise their families. There is much work to be done, but HOI is fully committed to follow God’s will and help the transformation continue.

As we continue to look back and press forward, join us as we celebrate the past 25 years of progress and ENGAGE with us as HOI approaches the next 25 years. Help us recognize and honor what God is doing in all of our lives!

To register for the event, visit www.hoi.org/rsvp or email Caitlin McCormick at ljwilling@hoi.org

Blessings,

Jerry Eickhoff, CEO

Letter from the CEO: "Non-Toxic Charity"

 

Christ taught his followers to “feed the poor,” but He also taught His followers that they would accomplish “greater works” for the Kingdom.  Our goal is to accomplish these greater works by not only feeding the poor, but by empowering the poor to escape long-term poverty.  The concept of sustainability is often one that we North Americans struggle with, especially short-term volunteers.  We’re called to “give,” and give we do.  Yet sometimes our well-intentioned giving isn’t as healthy for the recipients as we would hope.

If we’ve learned anything in our 25 years of partnership with the people of Central America, it’s been that we need to help empower our friends while not creating a sense of dependence upon our generosity. That is why we require investment, both fiscal and physical, in each of our projects, by the recipients of our collective efforts. It’s also why we strive in every way possible to create economic opportunity and market-driven solutions to improve living conditions for the long term. While residents of the Agalta Valley are a long way from realizing our dreams of full self-support, together we’re making progress a little at a time.

We at HOI want each of you who so generously and enthusiastically join us in our work to fully understand our ultimate goals.  These are to share God’s truth while improving the quality of life through an environment of dignity and the reality of self sufficiency.

The more invested local people are in creating the solutions to their challenges, the more ownership they take, and the longer the positive results last. We’ve also learned that this balance generates the most transformation in our North American teams that serve with us. Knowing their efforts will help effect lasting change brings a wonderful sense of satisfaction.

WT landscaping

There has been much written in the past few years by effective and experienced Christian community development practitioners like Bob Lupton, author of “Toxic Charity,” on the best practices for short-term missions.  Occasionally the ideas presented initially seem to be at odds with our cause.  We study these books and publications objectively and carefully while engaging face-to-face with their authors to allow us to continually learn better ways to “help” those with whom we partner.

HOI is unique in that we commit to people and places for extended periods of time by utilizing short-term mission teams to implement our long-term strategies.  This gives us the opportunity to engage volunteer teams in very effective, targeted, and useful ways. This approach has produced documented unparalleled results.

In all that we do, including each new service that is introduced, the people we serve evaluate their own situations, develop their own priorities and plans, and then work with us for our catalytic support. The model we utilize requires investment by all parties with an eye towards sustainability.

A recent example of this is the exciting addition of the full service dental practice based at our campus in Olancho. This required considerable “seed capital” generosity by U.S. supporters which allowed HOI to construct, outfit, and staff a modern dental service for the thousands of people in the Valley who had never seen a dentist. The alleviation of pain and related health issues through this ministry is just one more life-altering way that God has used our supporters to great effect. Now our generous visiting dentists and dental technicians will be able to do more than just extract teeth. They will be able to share their expertise by providing additional training for our dental staff as well as practice preventive and restorative services for patients.

Dentist

 In order for this service to survive, however, we are charging fees to our patients on an “as able” basis. Those that can afford these very low fees will pay for services, but those who are unable to pay will not be turned away. Our medical staff in Honduras has suggested and developed this fee schedule and plan in order that over time, our dental services will pay for themselves and will not be dependent upon U.S. funding.

We ask our visiting North American dentists to work within this system so that patients understand the value of the treatment they receive. This encourages them to adopt dental hygiene habits that improve oral health, with all of its attendant benefits.  With this fee for service plan in place, one day when the last North American dentist leaves one of our locations many years from now, they can look back with pride on the fact that they worked themselves out of a job.  We can then move on to populations still waiting for life-changing oral health in other geographic areas.

As we shift more and more to this changing paradigm across all of the projects, services, and ministries we undertake, we ask that each of our volunteers keep the long-term impact of our actions in the forefront of our minds. Be on the lookout for ways to turn local activities into economic opportunities. At the end of the day, the only way to move from poverty to prosperity is through the creation of real jobs.

The following chart is a simple illustration that I saw on LinkedIn, and I think this is the “purpose” we’re all looking for, for ourselves and for those we work with in the mission field:

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Let’s pray that God leads each of us to contribute to the salvation, long-term health, and prosperity of our sisters and brothers all over the world.

Blessings,

Jerry Eickhoff, CEO