The Drew Honduras Project is a secular humanitarian organization with a dual purpose: first, the project provides aid to children’s homes and orphanages in Honduras, specifically in the form of funds, clothing, educational and medical supplies, and labor. Second, the project provides Drew University students with a unique educational opportunity different from any available through the academic curriculum. The university doesn’t organize this trip for students or determine what we will learn. There is no grade and it is not credit-bearing. This is a 100% student organized and funded trip. It is also deeply rooted in the principles of civic engagement. Unlike some large-scale humanitarian programs, the Honduras Project works with small-scale local community partners in Honduras. This allows students to become involved on a very personal level with the people they work alongside and with the culture of their workplace: Honduras. The students spend their time not only performing tasks involving physical labor for the benefit of the Honduran children’s homes and communities, but also interacting with the children themselves, and they maintain contact with those children throughout the year.
This is not a standard humanitarian aid trip. We’re not flying in to “save the Hondurans.” We recognize that we benefit from the trip as much, if not more, than the people we work with in Honduras, but because everyone involved (Drew students and Hondurans) are giving something of themselves we believe that everyone benefits. In the philosophical statement for volunteers from El Hogar it says: “your brief or prolonged encounters with the boys will help them to understand that people care about people, unlike what they may have found in their previous lives — on the streets — where they were constantly turned, even chased, away.” This trip is about people caring about people, both students and children and within the group itself. This trip is secular, but it is still very spiritual and emotional, so the group spends structured time reflecting on their experiences at the end of each day, helping each other sort through and express our emotions. And participants bring their experience back to Drew in large and small ways, both in helping others closer to home and in the way they see and react to others as a result of the trip. One student said: “I love the children, I made many new friends, I opened my eyes to the world around me . . . I grew up. I’m coming back!”
All costs of the trip are raised by the members of the group through fund-raisers ranging from coin drives and “brick” sales to the annual Honduran Dinner and occasional events like the “Pants Auction.” Participants raise money through church and community groups, their old high schools, neighbors, family and friends, the Drew community, and Madison area residents through door-to-door solicitation. More money is always appreciated, though, so if you’d like to give some, please do make a donation! The children’s homes also need lots of other things, from tooth brushes to a new roof: if you’d like to see the wish list, check out the Donations page. You can also make a secure, tax-deductable on-line donation using the link in the side bar