The Olancho Aid Foundation operates four educational institutions that provide hope and enable transformation through education. We invite you to learn more about each of our schools and hope that one day you will join us for an in-person visit to see and feel God’s work taking place for our students, volunteers, and teachers.
Nazareth was a small village, virtually unknown in the area of Galilee during the period of Christ. It was in this humble place that Jesus spent his youth and began a ministry of compassion and healing. In 1996, when Olancho Aid with the support of individuals in the United States opened the first special needs school in Olancho, they decided on a name reflective of Jesus’ extraordinary childhood.
Escuelita Nazareth offers education to children and young adults with special needs including students with autism, hearing and visual impairments, cognitive & developmental disabilities, and Down syndrome. Our students take classes at pre-basic, basic, pre-vocational, and vocational levels. Classes are designed to help students develop cognitive and life skills.
The school was originally built in 2001 to accommodate 45 students. Today we have 80 students who thrive with the support of dedicated teachers and administration at Nazareth. The students are transported daily to the school in a bus purchased with volunteer donations.
Three vocational workshops have been developed for our students.
First was Artesanias Nazareth in 2010. Eight students, between the ages of 16-36, make crafts and paintings. Instructors use this as a means of occupational therapy to further motor skills and manual dexterity. Funds are raised through sales of the items.
Second was Camisetas Nazareth which began in 2012. This screen printing shop has grown into a large scale operation, selling uniforms and other products to many local schools. Students are employed to fold and pack products.
In 2015, Vasitos Nazareth began as students make popsicles that are sold at the Catholic University, as well as all of the Olancho Aid schools. We are seeking a volunteer business school graduate to develop the business plan for expansion.
Nazareth is more than just a school. Lasting impact involves reaching out to the community to bring enlightenment and understanding about the realities and possibilities for disabled individuals in the community. Fostering independence in our students means fighting discrimination and ensuring that equality is a concept the community understands and respects.
Our teachers and administrators also work closely with parents and families of our students. Having a child with a disability presents a range of challenges; in a society that lacks acceptance, families often struggle with this reality. In Honduras, parents must first be guided to acceptance and understanding then trained in strategies to best support their child’s growth. Escuelita Nazareth works with parents in encouraging their child’s autonomy by inviting them to participate in school events and collaborate on projects.
Centro Escolar Bilingüe Santa Clara
The sun has barely climbed out from behind the hills of Olancho and already energy and enthusiasm are bursting from the classrooms of the Santa Clara School. The brightly colored uniforms that students wear are a perfect match for the vibrant learning environment that is Santa Clara.
Centro Escolar Bilingüe Santa Clara is a Catholic school that aims to be the leading primary bilingual education institution in Olancho. Strong school leadership works to embrace high academic standards for our students and to augment quality instruction as the school continues to grow.
CEBSC serves children in preschool through sixth grade. The curriculum is centered on the belief that students should be challenged academically and should develop intellectual skills that are both creative and progressive. Our faith-based curriculum provides them with the moral framework that will enable them to face challenges in their lives and in their communities. Integrated into basic academic instruction are themes and programs that guide students to fulfill their potential as unique human beings and contributors to humanity.
Since its inception, the school experienced rapid growth and now provides bilingual education to more than 350 students. A US-modeled course curriculum, bilingual instructors, and foreign volunteers prepare children for secondary school and beyond.
Instituto Bilingüe Santa Clara
When the first class of students from Centro Escolar Santa Clara graduated from 6th grade, Instituto Bilingüe Santa Clara was born. Until a new facility could be funded and constructed, this class spent their 7th grade and 8th-grade years borrowing classroom space from CESC & IOCR. Finally, Instituto Bilingüe Santa Clara opened its current physical location in 2011 with just 3 grade levels. The high school will grow again this year when the largest 7th grade class begins this Fall. During the summer of 2016, construction began to build 3 additional classrooms and 3 bathrooms to accommodate expected enrollment growth for the upcoming school year.
High school graduates in Honduras are only required to complete 11th grade. IBSC is one of just 14 schools in the country where students must complete 12th grade to graduate. Just like CESC, the high school follows a US-modeled course curriculum and employs bilingual instructors along with foreign volunteers. Expectations are high for our students, both academically and socially. Each grade level participates in a service-learning project to reach out in the community. Without fail, students fully dive into these experiences, realizing the special value of giving of oneself to support the community.
IBSC celebrated its first graduating class of 21 students, in the Spring of 2015. Every student who graduated continued their studies at a university. One of these graduates received a full scholarship to study in Florida. The majority of others are at the Catholic University in Juticalpa and the National University in Tegucigalpa. Director Ramirez reflected that some of these students did not “need” to study at the university, rather they could have moved right into their family’s business but they chose to continue their education recognizing the value it will bring to their families. The families continue to sacrifice to enable them to pursue further study.
Instituto Oscar Cardenal Rodriguez
In 2003, Olancho Aid and the Diocese of Juticalpa responded to the need for educated professionals in the local workforce by opening Instituto Oscar Cardenal Rodriguez. There were 56 students in its first class. This secondary school for grades 7-11 has become one of the best college preparatory schools in the area, today over 175 students are enrolled.
The Institute offers educational tracks focusing on sciences and humanities. Planning is underway to open a new track that will emphasize sustainable agriculture. The programs are designed to prepare students to succeed in the professional workforce and to enable their pursuit of higher education.
Along with specific areas of study, administrators at IOCR work to foster creative learning and well-rounded development for students. They encourage students to explore interests and develop their talents through extra-curricular activities like science fairs, art classes, public speaking competitions, environmental presentations, outreach programs for the community, and spiritual retreats.
Unique to Cardinal Rodriguez is a constant dialogue between science and faith, and an emphasis on moral, spiritual and civic values. The administration aims to provide an education that promotes leadership in our students so that these young individuals can make a positive contribution to the development of Olancho. This commitment to development is illustrated in the Institute’s graduation requirements, which include social projects and service-learning components that extend beyond the classroom and into Olancho’s communities.