What Home Means at NPH
NPH Honduras’ living spaces help children develop in a family-style environment.
February 12, 2019 - Honduras
Far from just providing shelter, a home serves as the foundation for where we learn values, practice responsibilities, and ultimately become the men and women we are today. At NPH Honduras, we've built a foundation upon this very principle by offering a safe, stable, and loving environment for children for more than 30 years.
When a child first comes through our doors, our home directors begin by assessing their age, maturity, and personality and then assign them to one of our three general living areas: Casa Suyapa for our youngest children, Talita Kumi for adolescent girls, and Buen Pastor for adolescent boys. Within these ‘neighborhoods,’ of sorts, are individual homes that house smaller groups of children and their caregivers.
Once in their new home, the child is paired with a responsible peer who mentors and helps him or her adapt to the new surroundings. During this initial stage, they learn about NPH and develop a steady routine for going to school, doing chores, eating meals, and participating in recreational activities.
“Our main objective is to maintain family support, so that kids feel like they’re in a family,” says Assistant Home Director Marco Jiménez. By studying, praying, sharing meals, doing chores, and playing together, the children form a kind of brotherhood under the direction of their caregivers who serve as parental figures. The caregiver’s responsibilities are to support the children’s needs, teach them to be responsible, and inculcate them with values, such as family, education, and spirituality day after day.
One of the most important aspects of our caregiver role within NPH is that they provide the love that many of our children miss at some point in their lives. According to Daniel Velásquez, psychologist for Buen Pastor, “there are many kids who come here with anger and lack of trust, and don’t depend on others. But if there is a caregiver who gives them love and respects them, they transmit the message that there are good people out there despite the traumatic experiences that they’ve had in the past. A kid might come in saying, ‘I’m never going to trust someone again,’ but if we give them a contrary image, they might say ‘oh, well things can be different.’”
To further reinforce the homes’ familial aspect, home directors group biological relatives in Buen Pastor and Talita Kumi in the same house so that they can spend more time together and so that older children can serve as role models for their younger siblings or cousins. As a result, Jiménez says he’s seen a genuine “desire to collaborate and interact” within the homes.
Among the many positive changes coming from this structural change, Velásquez says, “number one is the strengthening of family ties,” because even if the children are away from their families, either by themselves or with siblings, they can keep living as a united family. “It’s a positive change that can help at the personal level, because they learn communication and become more responsible,” which are tools they’ll need if they reintegrate with their families or have families of their own in the future.
Children’s names have been changed to protect their privacy.