Our Ministry to the Children of the City Dump
|How to respond to such need? There are approximately 300 children in the city dump on a daily basis. In 2002, we knew that we wanted to minister to them, but we were not sure what form that would take. We knew one thing, however: we did not want to be a ministry that just dropped by the dump every so often to give handouts. That creates dependency. We wanted to do something that would have a transformative effect in the lives of these children.|
|After much prayer, we decided
that focusing on two aspects: 1.) the spiritual lives of the children and
2.) providing them with a formal education. In 2002 (as pictured
above), we did this in a very non-formal way. Every afternoon, the
young men from the Micah Project accompanied ministry coordinator Jeony
Ordonez to the dump. As the kids got to know us, they began to run
to meet our van every time we rolled in!
That year, the Micah boys undertook educational activities with the children right amidst the trash in the main part of the dump. The kids excitedly did the Bible and educational activities; they provided them with a brief respite from the monotony of their lives!
|Here, Jeony and the Micah boys work with the children in 2003.|
|In 2004, we began our formal education initiative. We built a lean-to behind the public clinic that was built in the dump but rarely used. The kids came to the lean-to every morning to receive their classes! Jeony's wife Jessie was and continues to be the main teacher, with support from the Micah boys. We began to use a home-schooling curriculum that was approved and certified by the Honduran government. The children were able to complete two grade levels a year. At first, we received some resistance from some of the students' parents since the kids were studying instead of collecting trash for recycling. Slowly, however, the parents began to accept and trust our program. Approximately thirty children enrolled in our daily classes.|
|This lean-to was our first classroom! Unfortunately, the almost daily burnings at the dump filled our classroom with smoke on frequent occasions, making it impossible to teach. Jeony began to make new plans for 2005!|
In 2005, we moved our classes to a soccer field across the street from the
dump entrance. Each of our four groups took a different section of
the soccer field! Our numbers have swelled to sixty children!
The kids love coming out of the dump every afternoon in order to receive
their classes. We now have four teachers: Jeony's wife Jessie
(pictured here), his sister Jenny, Ana, and Jarvin, who is one of the
young men at the Micah Project. Each of the teachers props a white
board up on a stick and carries out different lessons for three hours
The soccer field is a safer, cleaner and more open environment for our children. The only thing that stops us is a heavy downpour!
|Here, Jarvin, a young man from the Micah Project, helps some fifth graders with an assignment. They tell me that he is a very good teacher! Photo taken in September, 2005.|
|Ana taught at the Micah House before moving out to the dump to help out there. She is a patient teacher and loves the children! Photo taken in September, 2005|
|Some of our students are teens who are just beginning the first grade. We feel that their only way out of the dump is to learn how to read and write and to graduate some day! This requires a long-term commitment from the Micah Project!|
|Jeony's sister Jenny teaches our kindergartners. It would be a true miracle if these kids could one day leave the dump behind forever.|