One Family, Back Together
Children and Youth in the NPH OneFamily program share their experiences.
December 26, 2017 - Honduras
This November, 40 youths in the NPH OneFamily program returned to NPH Honduras’ Rancho Santa Fe for the first time since they left in February, when they rejoined their biological families.
In accordance with the United Nations Guidelines for Alternative Care, released in 2010, the NPH OneFamily program began to provide a continuum of care to children who transition from our homes to reintegrate with family, ultimately helping to strengthen the families and communities that these children returned to. Now, after nearly a year living outside the walls of NPH, the children were able to reconnect with old friends, pass three days with their NPH family, and share what they have learned living outside of NPH.
Children arrived from near and far: Some as close as 40 minutes away in the capital city, Tegucigalpa; while others loaded an NPH bus that arrived at the bleak of dawn to bring them all the way from the north coast. The NPH OneFamily team – a mix of social workers, psychologists, and other childcare specialists – have been constantly making those journeys themselves for the past nine months, as they check-in on the children in their schools and homes to provide counseling, give parental trainings, drop of medicines, and make sure that their transition into their biological families has been going well.
Now, though, instead of the team journeying out one more time, all of the kids came to them. But not for work or meetings, but rather for the simple opportunity to stay connected with their NPH family.
The activities lasted throughout the day, with the 40 kids joining the over 300 of NPH in organized games and relays, outdoor movies, walks around the Ranch, and family meals.
In reconnecting with old friends, caregivers, the common thread across all stories shared revolved around the independence and responsibility that had to be found back in other cities across Honduras. It is the most common theme discussed with the NPH OneFamily team during their visits: “How are you managing scheduling time to study? What chores are you doing to contribute to life at home? How are you relating to your family members?”
And for the most part, the answers to those questions are positive. This past year, many pequeños in the program have achieved the satisfaction of graduating into middle school or into high school, other older ones have found a steady job to utilize work skills built throughout their life at NPH’s vocational workshops, and others have enjoyed the simple success of transitioning from a home of all younger girls at NPH to a house of all older brothers outside of it.
And maybe most importantly, they were able to share about these successes with their friends still living at NPH.
“Be prepared, because life outside isn’t as easy as some people think. Its easy to think, when I am independent, I’m going to buy myself this, I’m going to buy myself that. But you can’t just blow all your money on unimportant things, and you don’t have all the money in the world. You have to be more independent and smart.” – Myrlande,* aspiring future salon owner.
“Take advantage of your time at NPH. You have to find your own way to build your future … I’ve learned a lot. To be more independent. To take care of myself. To do my own work – no one will just ‘do it for me.’" – Sandy,* future software engineer.
"You wont have opportunities like here at NPH forever … I’ve learned a lot. How to make friends. Adult friends. It was harder in the beginning, I didn’t adapt well at first. But you learn to adjust and how to figure it out." – Christelle,* recent middle-school graduate and hopeful future beauty specialist.
*Names changed to protect privacy.