Peace of Mind
How a NPH-supported day care is helping single mothers start to rebuild
March 12, 2017 - Honduras
One of the anecdotes that National Director Stefan Feuerstein often tells large visiting groups centers around the reasons why he, originally a year-long volunteer, has chosen to remain working within the NPH Honduras family for almost a decade. After a handful of quips about the hard and intentional work done by other members of the staff, he ends with a simple, “we work here … because we can give people peace. We work here because we can help others start to put their lives back together.” While this is certainly true for the pequeños on the Ranch, what often goes unnoticed are the variety of ways in which NPH Honduras extends its family and support into the surrounding communities. “Pasos Pequeñitos” (Little Steps) is a NPH-supported day care for single, working mothers in Tegucigalpa that is working hard to help women in the capital do just that: find peace and put life back together.
Maricela* is one such mother who benefits from the day care – her four-year-old son Antoni* is looked after daily by a team of employees and volunteers while she works cleaning a nearby school. Being a single mother is rarely ever easy, and living in Tegucigalpa only serves to complicate the difficult situation that she and too many other women find themselves in.
“There are challenges to living here,” she explains. “There is not always a lot of work open for everyone, and even then, there can be problems with salaries and all of that.” While Honduras' economy is rising and recovering out of the 2008 global economic crises, 63% of the country still lives in poverty, and it has the highest level of economic disparity in the region.** Those with work count themselves blessed, but like anywhere else, city life comes with its hurdles. “It costs money even just to get to work, medical help can be expensive … even with a job things can be difficult.”
Maricela and her son began receiving support from Pasos Pequeñitos two years ago; she learned about it just from walking past every day to catch the bus. Before becoming a part of the Pasos family, she would have to leave her son with any one of a few different neighbors, but even then, “I had to work almost all day, so I didn’t know them very well.” Fortunately, though, something as simple as a few hours of daily childcare helped to make a noticeable difference for her. “Since we started coming here, I know that I can work with a lot more peace of mind about my son.”
That stability and peace of mind is not the only thing offered at Pasos Pequeñitos, either. “When he is sick, they help me find him medications. They are helping him with small classroom skills to get him ready for kinder next year. And he gets two full meals while he is there, too.”
When it is needed, the center will go above and beyond to help mothers put their lives back together. "We help them find studies so that they can move forward in life," explains Rosalina, the director. "Ultimately, we want them to reach a point where they don't need our help. Recently we have started a scholarship program to help those who need it attend school so that they can advance."
Stefan has stayed with NPH because he believes in what it does: giving people peace, helping children rebuild. And Rosalina is no different. The mission of Pasos Pequeñitos? Just ask her: "Help mothers who are in difficult situations - who are alone, who don't have much external help. Mothers who have been mistreated, who can't find opportunity here. Help them to rebuild and to move forward."
*Personal information changed to protect privacy
**Statistics from the World Bank