The assembly of donated goods and organisation of freighting is relatively straightforward with respect to the UK end of the operation.
However, the importation of goods into Honduras presents many more problems. As a small organisation wishing to deal directly with the children we are trying to target, we have sought to work through a small team of co-workers in Honduras. These people must however possess the capability to import and distribute the donated goods. They must also operate with the highest levels of integrity and exercise love and vocation towards the children that need to be helped.
This has been achieved by establishing relationships and mutual trust with a network of churches located in various parts of Honduras. These churches work together to provide the Trust with a single importation identity. Through these churches and their associated schools we are able to reach hundreds of children as far north as Choloma ( near San Pedro Sula) and Siguatepeque, Choluteca in the south, Danli to the east and the capital city Tegucigalpa with its surrounding districts of Nueva Suyapa and the Valle de Angleles. The founders of CH Trust have been sending supplies to Valle de Angeles for over thirty years.
As a result of high unemployment, too many children in Honduras do not receive the basic nutrition they require to develop into healthy, strong adults. To alleviate this problem we send out each year quantities of pasta, plain flour, rice, oats, dried milk, oil and tuna fish.
In Honduras, health care totally depends on one's ability to pay. Hospital treatment at the standard taken for granted here in the UK is only available to the very wealthy. For those people unable to pay the provision is minimal and largely inadequate. Those seeking help at the state hospitals may have to queue all day, often outside exposed to the hot sunshine. If they manage to see a doctor and need hospitalisation, it is more than likely that no bed will be available. The hospital staff labour in difficult conditions continually faced with shortages including basic consumables such as soap, surgical gloves and dressings etc. CH Trust is trying to bring some relief to the situation in the state and other hospitals/clinics, especially where the treatment of children is a priority.
There are a number of areas where there is opportunity to help. UK local surgeries are being encouraged to use disposable single use instruments rather than to sterilise their own equipment. As a result they may have both sterilising units and instruments which are now surplus to requirements. Industry has first aid posts that have to stock bandages, which now have an expiry date on them (strange but true). Is it possible to intercept these perfectly good items at replacement time?
In the wider context, all the hospitals treating the poor end of the spectrum desperately need all kinds of equipment and instruments suitable for employment in a `third world´ field hospital environment. A list of some of the more basic needs is included below. Anything we can do to help is likely to make an impact on the lives of poor sick people in Honduras.
The parents of the children we are trying to reach are generally struggling to feed their family. In such cases there are certainly no funds to buy clothes and shoes, especially for the young children who grow out of everything so quickly. To help these parents we send as many clothes and shoes as we are able to collect. Occasionally new clothes are donated but most are good quality used items with plenty of wear left in them.
Toys are in great demand. This is because we try and give, a very large number
of children we support, a toy of their own to keep.
Some are given out when the containers arrive. Other Pastors keep them to give out at Christmas or on the day of the child in September.
Here are a few ideas if you are going out looking for items to purchase: Skipping ropes, yo-yos, marbles, cars
dolls, footballs, basket balls, colouring books and crayons etc. basic games like drafts, ludo. (NB we don't send complicated games, as they cannot read the rules. The children are Spanish speaking.) Baloons,
upto 100 piece jigsaws, MacDonalds toys and any small second hand toys.
We are still looking for dressed dolls and those need to be dressed to send out.
Primary education in Honduras is, in principle, free at the point of delivery. However, in order to attend school each child must possess a pair of black shoes, the required school uniform and must provide all consumables like exercise books, text books, pens, pencils, scissors, erasers. Many children may also need to possess a backpack to transport their equipment and lunch etc since it is not unusual for them to walk up to one hour across mountain tracks to get to school.
Many parents can provide this level of support for one child in their family. However, most families seem to include about four children. Where the children's ages are closely spaced and need to be in school simultaneously, they cannot afford schooling for them all. The main casualties in such circumstances tend to be the girls.
To help meet this need we send all the black shoes, white shirts and socks, etc. that we can. A second line of attack has been to launch the concept of a one-off “one year” sponsoring scheme to cover the cost of the basic requirements noted above, which comes to about £50.
The state schools are heavily oversubscribed with children, often resulting in classes numbering sixty children. In response to this some church organisations are trying to augment their local school capacity by providing additional “private” schools particularly where the congregations include qualified teachers. The churches appear to be able to locate premises, either church buildings or rented property but have considerable difficulty in obtaining affordable furniture, i.e. desks, tables, chairs, etc. These are extremely expensive in Honduras. We help to meet this need by shipping school equipment that has been offered to us as a result of school or church refurbishment schemes.