“Our faith in Christ, who became poor, and was always close to the poor and the outcast, is the basis of our concern for the integral development of society’s most neglected members.”
– Pope Francis 11/24/13 (Evangelii Guadium no. 186)
Our mission is to plant and nurture the seeds of FAITH, HOPE, and LOVE by delivering Catholic-based education and purified water solutions to God’s beloved people in Olancho, Honduras.
The Olancho Aid Foundation, Inc. is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization creating a sustainable future for Honduran families through faith-based education and service. From clean water projects that improve community health to schools that serve children including those with special needs, our team of international volunteers and Hondurans are dedicated to providing hope as we work to transform the future and life of the Olancho community.
The government of Honduras offers education to children through the 9th grade. Unfortunately, many do not finish even primary school as they need to work to support their family, stay at home to care for siblings or can’t attend school as the choice between school and food for the family is all too real. This lack of educational opportunity means that the next generation will not escape a subsistence existence let alone have the ability to build a sustainable future for their community.
Education focused on the dignity of every human person will liberate and bring opportunities for change. Good teachers know that education is not just a profession but is clearly a mission that can shape the world into a place reflecting the Plan of the Creator. The Olancho Aid foundation, in partnership with the Archdiocese of Olancho is committed to providing access to a faith-based education that is made possible through scholarships and volunteers who participate in solidarity projects to serve surrounding communities.
The Olancho Aid Foundation has embraced the exhortation of Pope Francis to the US Congress, “How much progress has been made in this area in so many parts of the world! How much has been done in these first years of the third millennium to raise people out of extreme poverty! I know that you share my conviction that much more still needs to be done, and that in times of crisis and economic hardship a spirit of global solidarity must not be lost. At the same time I would encourage you to keep in mind all those people around us who are trapped in a cycle of poverty. They too need to be given hope. The fight against poverty and hunger must be fought constantly and on many fronts, especially in its causes.”
History of Olancho Aid Foundation
In 1991, a priest who traveled to Olancho soon saw the desperate need to develop educational opportunities for the youth and community of Juticalpa. In 1996, Nazareth opened its doors and was the first school in an area the size of Maryland to for children with special needs. Today after 20 years of incredible growth, 4 schools, 900+ students, and 120+ Honduran employees make up an organization that continues to provide access to a quality education to the children of Olancho.
The first project began in 1996 when a local parish offered space at the “Apostolic House.” Escuelita Nazareth was born with 8 students, 1 teacher, and 1 director to serve youth living with various disabilities. In 2001, Nazareth moved to its current location after a generous land donation from Andres and America Garcia of Juticalpa along with funding from North American donors, international organizations, and design by local architect, Lillian Gomez Guifarro. The building was constructed to accommodate 45 children. Today, more than 65 students attend Escuelita Nazareth, thanks to generous sponsors.
Santa Clara Schools
In 2000, a group of students at the Catholic University of Juticalpa needed help with childcare to continue their studies. A day care began for pre-K students in a borrowed classroom at the university. Each year, the number of students increased significantly, leading to the building of Centro Escolar Bilingüe Santa Clara in 2003 and Instituto Bilingüe Santa Clara in 2010 to house our bilingual elementary and high schools. These two schools now serve over 600 students.
Instituto Oscar Cardenal Rodriguez
During the same timeframe, after working with ill-prepared incoming university students, Father Donahue wanted to better equip young Hondurans to learn at the university level. Instituto Oscar Cardenal Rodriquez, a monolingual college preparatory school, opened in 2003 to meet this need. It now boasts the highest college entrance exam scores in the community.
Water Purification Initiative
Efforts to provide purified water began in 2014. After years of medical missions treating parasitic diseases, it became apparent that the health of the communities we serve starts with access to clean water. If children are to grow and thrive in school, their parents must have clean water for drinking and cooking. Thus the decision was made to extend our focus to include providing clean water and education to the communities that we serve.
Since 2015, Olancho Aid has installed, maintained the Living Waters of the World system, and educated Hondurans about clean water systems. In 2015, Olancho Aid installed 7 purification systems and will complete an additional 10 in 2016.