The 20 people on this year's Grace Church Building Brigade are back from Honduras. Their mission was to build a new school in a rural area, and also work on maintenenace and improvement projects at Nuevo Paraiso. The school should be completed in time for the coming new term in the school year. It was a very successful build! They also distributed school supplies and food staples to five additional schools in remote villages, and provided a really popular crafts and games program for the children at Nuevo Paraiso. This was an amazing opportunity to make a difference in the lives of children and in the future of a remote rural community in Honduras.
This year our primary focus has been to build a one room school in a remote, rural area. Up until now, the children of the community have been using the living space of a local home. Each morning the desks and chairs are moved into the house from the porch and moved back out after class. However, the homeowners are taking in additional family members and can no longer provide this space for the school children. There was an urgent need for a schoolroom so that the children can have the opportunity to learn and grow.
As part of Grace United Church's vision 'Beyond Our Limits, Beyond Our Walls', the congregation at Grace includes funds in the annual budget to pay for the 'bricks and mortar' for our building project .
While the primary focus is to build, brigade members also visited five additional rural schools in remote communities, bringing with them a year's worth of much needed school supplies as well as 'care packages' of rice, beans, flour and sugar for each student's family. They also took gently used children's clothing. Each of the schools visited also receives a water purification system. Our goal was to raise $600 for each of the six schools that we visited in November. Thank you to all who donated to this project!
This year's project also included medical clinics that were held near the building site. Building Brigades are made up of both Grace congregation members and volunteers from other churches and the community. All participants pay their own way, usually by doing their own fund-raising. They stay in the visitors' compound at Nuevo Paraiso where, in previous years, we have built several houses that now are home to 36 children and teenagers. More recently, our building brigades have built two one-room schools and look forward to building a third this year.
A little background:
Honduras is one of the countries with which Grace Partnership in Faith has become actively involved.
Grace Partnership in Faith (GPIF) was formed in early 2006 by members at Grace who were committed to making a difference in the lives of others in a developing country.
By working with the Peterborough-based organization Friends of Honduran Children, GPIF developed a relationship with Sociedad Amigos de los Niños, which provides a safe place to live and grow for hundreds of orphaned, abandoned and at risk children in this Central American country. Over a three year period, GPIF led building brigades to Honduras each November to build homes for these children at Nuevo Paraiso. The construction of these homes has been paid for by the congregation of Grace Church as part of the Vision, 'Beyond Our Limits, Beyond Our Walls'. Each of the completed houses has become home to 12 children who now are cared for in a loving environment, eat regularly, worship in community and have a chance to go to school.
A number of Grace Church members sponsor a child through Friends of Honduran Children (www.honduranchildren.com) .
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