The 'Children of the Dump' 11 years later

CHINENDEGA, Nicaragua Those local residents say they were inspired to help after seeing the reports here on ABC13.

We first brought you the heartbreaking stories over a decade ago. Recently, we returned to the dumpsite in Nicaragua to check on the children's progress.

Houstonians have really made miracles happen in Nicaragua. Tucked deep inside the jungles of this country is a village where hundreds of children are struggling to survive and literally are living off a dumpsite. We return to Chinendega, Nicaragua 11 years later to find out just how Houston Rotarians have changed lives.

Ten years ago we showed you ugly scenes from the city dump in Chinendega, Nicaragua. Today, it's still a pile of filth. It's still covered by dozens or even hundreds of people, mostly children.

But as you look around to the vastness of this city dump, it has grown over the years. It's maybe four, five or even six times as large as it was when we first arrived. But something of course that does not change and is the faces of the children, like 16-year-old Frankie. They're still so very sad, and still so very desperate.

It's hard to believe Frankie is 16 because he's thin, frail, shirtless and shoeless.

Every day for seven or eight hours, Frankie and his three siblings walk this dumpsite searching for food and salvageable items. It's a pathetic life, but the boy still has hope. Frankie told us he wants to study and have a good job.

But climbing out of this pit of poverty would take miracle for Frankie.

That's where Frank Huezo with the Humble Rotary Club steps in.

Twelve years ago, Huezo and his Humble Rotary Club had a dream to pull children out of the Nicaraguan dumpsite, feed them, educate them and find them jobs.

"It's working, so, hopefully, this world in 15, 20, 25, years is gonna be a better world," Huezo said.

We documented one of their initial trips.

"This thing really took off after your first documentary," Huezo told us.

Over the years, Houston Rotarians have literally yanked hundreds of children from the dump and changed their lives.

There are simply too many miraculous stories to talk about of lives being changed, but in a country where poverty and illiteracy are rampant, one might think that it simply doesn't make that much difference. But in the lives and in the faces of these children, it makes all the difference in the world.

Children are being fed, educated and taught a trade.

But for Frankie, rescue has not come yet. He still rummages through filth, as he has now for more than 10 years. In his day of searching through the dumpsite, he found only a scrap piece of metal, which he says he's going to sell.

It's a miserable life, but a life still filled with hope of rescue.

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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