On July 14, 2012 the Board of Directors of Casita Copán gathered at our favorite coffee shop, Cafe San Rafael. Over everyone’s favorite coffee and cheesy empanadas, we discussed the legal aspects of starting an official non-governmental organization in Honduras. Our lawyer, Silvia Corea de Morales explained the paperwork (which is now finished!) and the process that we must now go through as wait for approval. She explained how big of a commitment this is, but as I looked around the table, I saw only excitement.
What started as just a simple hope to bring a better quality of care to the orphaned and abandoned children currently living in Copan Ruinas turned into a solid plan to change the way we care for children without parents. It was surprisingly easy to find the founding Board of Directors for this exciting new organization, mostly because so many local “Copanecos” were shocked to learn of the conditions that children living in local shelters suffer. But I think what excites the Board (and me) the most is our belief that we can create a real change in Copán, not just put a Band-aid on a chronic problem. We believe that if we involve as many community members as possible and create an organization based in respect, transparency, and compassion, we can create something that all Copanecos can be proud of.
I’ll end this post by introducing myself, Emily Monroe. I grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and moved to Honduras about two years ago to work as a 4th grade teacher at Mayatan, a bilingual school in Copán Ruinas. A strong believer in human rights, my background is in non-profit program management and development, education, writing, and art. About a year ago, I started volunteering at the local children’s shelter and was appalled by the living conditions yet simultaneously amazed by the spunky personalities of each child living there. My original plans to simply improve the building with paint and new floor turned into a larger dream to build a new children’s home from the ground up. One that the community is invested in, commits to support, and ultimately benefits from. You can find out more about our plans for the new children’s home by reading through our website. Please contact me if you would like to hear more. I would love to hear your ideas, thoughts, and questions!