Rotarians still giving 'Children of the Dump' hope

October 12, 2010 8:31:53 PM PDT
Over the past 12 years donations of time and money from our area have changed the lives of countless children in Nicaragua. Eyewitness News Reporter Art Rascon takes us back to the dumpsite where these children live and work and takes a look at the amazing progress made over the years.

A few years ago, the girls at the dumpsite of Chinendega, Nicaragua couldn't play the violin. In fact, none of the children had even picked up an instrument. And the blind students had no home and no future. The students had no classroom, much less computers.

All of them used to live and work at the city dump.

"When you came out with the first documentary, with the Children of the Dump, that really made this thing, this project, take off," said Houston Rotarian Frank Huezo.

The project there has grown so rapidly over the years that there's now a school housing hundreds of students and even another school on the other side of the street. It has tripled in size to more than 500 students. And just down the street is a clinic serving a hundred kids a day.

"You wonder whether you're making a difference, but then as you say, you look at these children and you really believe you are," we asked Huezo.

"Absolutely. Absolutely," he replied.

Still, many of these kids go to school for only reason: food. And for that, they are grateful.

It may be their only meal all day, but when lunch is over, they're still smiling. The children walk or pile into trucks with only one place to go: off to the dump.

Dardni has been living this life for years, working side by side with other school friends.

Every day she spends the morning at the school and the afternoon at the dump, she said.

Despite the misery there, kids are still remarkably happy, especially those who have been rescued.

"Sometimes, I said, 'It's incredible. I can't believe it,'" said Maria Jose. She is another amazing success story pulled from the dump by Houston-area Rotarians.

Now working and making a good income, Jose often returns to her former home to pray for more miracles of rescue.

Houston-area Rotarians say the most difficult part of this project was realizing there are so many more children to save and not enough money to make it happen.

If you would like to help, the information for donations is:

Hope $ Relief International Foundation
10700 Gerke Road
Brenham, Texas 77833
(979) 251-0840

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