HPC Fellow: Jenny Elibeth Gómez Medina, Casa Alianza Honduras (Covenant House)
Jenny Elibeth Gómez Medina is a Hilton Prize Coalition Fellow working with Casa Alianza Honduras. At Casa Alianza, Jenny worked in the program dedicated to comprehensive care for street children; she also had the opportunity to work alongside the fundraising team at Casa Alianza. In her blog, Jenny reflects on the model for comprehensive care for street children.
Comprehensive Care for Homeless and Runaway Youth
Jenny Elibeth Gómez Medina
In Honduras there are many social problems, such as poverty, migration and unemployment, causing child abandonment, child labor, trafficking in children for labor and sexual exploitation, and teenage pregnancy for sexual abuse. Over the last five months, I have had the opportunity to be at Casa Alianza de Honduras (CAH) as a Hilton Prize Coalition Fellow, and I have come to know these problems more closely.
Casa Alianza de Honduras (CAH) is the largest privately funded agency in Honduras providing shelter, food, immediate crisis care, and an array of other services to homeless and runaway youth aged 12–18.
In my first week at CAH, I had the opportunity to learn about the different programs. My first experience was in the program of comprehensive care for street children, which consists of going to different streets and avenues of Tegucigalpa to invite children and adolescents to leave the streets by decision and their own conviction. Once the children choose to leave the streets, CAH initiates an educational and rehabilitation process in the Residential Home of CAH. This intervention is done through games and talks with children to gain empathy, to establish a relationship that carries a message of trust and respect. My visit was in a market in Tegucigalpa, where children work collecting garbage for sale and to use it in recycling. To start contact with them, I played a game, and as we played, together with the CAH team, we invited them to visit CAH and explained that being at home would give them food, clothing, shelter, and education.
Then I met the residential home of CAH, this is where children are helped to overcome the crisis, to have emotional stability, their rehabilitation, and their social reintegration, helping them to live free of violence, robbery, and drugs. I had the opportunity to see the work that psychologists do with children and adolescents, such as group therapies. I knew the work of educators to guide children in their training process.
And the last of the programs was the family reintegration program, where the children and adolescents are visited by the family for the reintegration of the children into their family nucleus, helping to generate a favorable environment and, above all, good family communication. During my visit, I had the opportunity to visit two of the many families to whom CAH has helped, and I could observe how they showed interest in creating a change in their family and improving communication and treatment for their children so that they can become better people.
After having this great experience in the programs, I began to work on a fundraising strategy to be able to attract more national and international funds. I also had the opportunity to support the preparation of proposals for new projects that benefit the children that CAH serves daily in each of the programs. In the same way, I cooperated in collecting donations for the celebration of the Children´s Day, and I participated in several meetings of bilateral cooperators.
Personally I am grateful to the Hilton Prize Coalition for the opportunity it has given me to know the great work done by CAH. I am also grateful to CAH for hosting me these months and letting me learn a lot from the great work they do to improve the lives of thousands of children and adolescents of the nation. This experience has allowed me to see the true reality that many children and adolescents live. A reality that before I only read it in national newspapers.
(Photos courtesy of Casa Alianza Honduras)
About The Hilton Prize Coalition
The Hilton Prize Coalition is an independent alliance of the 23 winners of the Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize, working together to achieve collective impact. Through three signature programs—the Fellows Program, the Collaborative Models Program and the Storytelling Program—the Coalition leverages the resources, talents and expertise of each of its members to innovate and establish best practices that can be shared with the global NGO and donor communities. Working in more than 170 countries, the Coalition is governed by a board comprised of the leaders of the Prize-winning organizations led by an Executive Committee and a Secretariat, Global Impact.
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