Casita Copan Home for Abandoned Children
Background and Project Outline
Facts on the Casitas:
- The three homes opened in July 2014 and cost about $15,000 a year to maintain, roughly $1,200 a month, which includes rent, utilities, maintenance, food, water, medicine, salary for Casita mom, school fees, and weekly visits with a psychologist.· Two of the casitas have four children living in the home, and one has five.
- There were a number of sibling groupings living at the former orphanage Angelitos Felices (closed down in July 2014 by the Honduran government); these children continue to live together in the same casitas.
- Each casita has a permanent foster mom who lives at the home and participates in all the activities that any mom might do for her children.
- The children are in their casitas on weekdays from 4 pm, Saturdays from 1 pm, and all day Sunday. On weekdays they go to school and then to Casita Copan (the main center) for tuoring, special activities, etc. This approach gives staff a chance to check how they are, address medical needs, ensure sessions with our psychologist, etc. The Casita model blends the best aspects of permanent foster care with the oversight of a children's home.
Specifics on the casita run by "Mami Zoila"
When the Casitas opened in July 2014, she was the first person the organization asked to be a Casita mom - a serious commitment since she was asked to care for the kids in her care until they turn 18. (A 13-year commitment in this case, as the youngest child in Zoila’s casita was 5 when the home opened last year). It goes without saying that the kids love her dearly and all call her "mamá." Side note: She is the daughter of another Casita mom, Juana.
Zoila’s casita is a bright, happy place. The walls are decorated with pictures the kids have drawn, and diplomas and certificates from school. All of the kids help out with the household chores and as soon as they get home, they wash their clothes and help Zoila fold the laundry. Some play with blocks on the floor while others go into their bedrooms to relax while they wait for dinner. The children are usually in bed by 8 p.m. On Saturdays and Sundays, they like to get out the puzzles or coloring books and play on the patio, watch movies, go to church, or take a trip to the Mayan ruins.
Note on Maria and Jesus's birth mom: Maria has severe epilepsy that started when she was a child. Casita Copan provides her medication but because of the severity of her condition, she still has seizures and her intellectual development was stunted by the frequency of her seizures and falls. So she often forgets to take her pills and does not maintain a healthy diet which only makes things worse. But Maria loves her children fiercely. She is the only mother that comes to visit her kids every single Wednesday and somehow always manages to bring them food and drinks. She helps them with their homework, draws with them, and always encourages them to behave well and study hard. She would like to be able to care for her children again one day, but her medical condition makes this unlikely.
Bang for your buck:
· Click here for the Casita Copan web site and more background information. (It's a registered charity in U.S. and Honduras, and Canadian charitable tax receipts are available if donors contact the organization first to arrange for how to make those donations)
· Click here to sponsor a Casita directly
· Click here to sponsor an individual child for $30, $60 or $90 a month