INTEGRAR Honduras: Gaining Learning Skills & Maximizing Potentials for DS Individuals

INTEGRAR Honduras: Gaining Learning Skills & Maximizing Potentials for DS Individuals

Honduras
Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
Budget: 
$50,000 - $100,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Honduras based, INTEGRAR: a network of individuals living with Down Syndrome (DS) and their families. Provides educational resources and training opportunities to family members and community members to increase understanding and reduce stigma around DS. INTEGRAR serves 50 DS individuals within all age groups with vision to expand our reach.
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

1) Insufficient operational funds to meet budget, extreme shortage of key personnel for mainstreaming programs, and limited availability to reach a greater number of parents and families of newborns. Frequently electricity is cut off. Present political and Economical crisis is threatening to have to close down the center in 2010. 2) Most schools (97%) deny our kids an education, since the public educational system in Honduras is extremely deficient and the private educational options are limited to the wealthy, therefore excluding our children, which mostly come from low income families and/or living below the poverty line. 3) Integrar was in the verge of loosing its land for not complying with construction deadline provided by the municipality and because of land invaders. 4) Our present therapy center is leased and its limited space is not suited for P.E. and for training parents and social or cultural activities.
About You
Organization:
Integrar Fundacion de Sindrome de Down
Section 1: About You
First Name

Lucy Mora

Last Name

de Kawas

Country
Section 2: About Your Organization
Organization Name

Integrar Fundacion de Sindrome de Down

Organization Phone

(504) 557-2729 (504) 557-3027 (504) 557-3028

Organization Address

Colonia Los Andes 9 Calle N.O. #68 Frente a Clinicas Murillo

Organization Country
Your idea
Country your work focuses on
Innovation
What makes your idea unique?

In Honduras there is very little support for families of DS individuals. Integrar was established by parents for parents. Integrar is one of the only organizations in Honduras to provide moral support and coaching to families so that they can heal. It is crucial for families to have immediate access to moral support and educational resources about DS. Integrar accelerates this process so that families can focus on getting the frequent and specialized therapies that their DS baby needs. Integrar´s mission is to identify and rescue all parents, particularly the newborn parents immediately following their 1st notice of their child´s DS diagnosis,

The first 2 years the group gathered on a weekly basis to empower parents and families of the DS population by providing them with knowledge on DS topics and issues, including their rights. In 2001, confident of our acquired knowledge, our center was opened with a handful of children and a therapist. As in other “normal” children, there is no particular therapy that is good for all DS children, and therefore we do not endorse any particular method or therapy, but advocate for individualized responses. In Honduras, this is a very unique approach.

Do you have a patent for this idea?

Impact
What impact have you had?

309 DS families identified, signed up and awaiting services by Integrar. At present services offered are: Group 1: Mom & baby: neurosensory therapies, learning thru play sessions, special learning skills thru the computer; Group 2: Early childhood stimulation, speech (3yrs-9 yrs); Group 3: children 10yrs-Adolescence: Teaching basic reading and math skills, development of self help skills for future independence, speech and communication, carpentry classes reinforcing areas covered in other classes, and developing their fine motor skills, as well as the use of tools for building their wood projects, boosting their self esteem and confidence, along with discipline and behavior reinforcements. 100% of our children improved between 80-85% in their physical activities thru the physical education classes provided. Of the 26 kids served in Group 1, 48% are proud to be in Integrar´s Folk Dance Group. 14% of our school age children have been included in regular schools. 25% of the perimeter wall has been completed. The incidence of DS individuals neglected, hidden and/or stoned and mistreated because of so much ignorance, and taboos has diminished in 15-18% thru Integrar´s constant awareness propaganda and the help of the affiliated parents. Have formed 4 additional chapters in 3 major cities, whereby 2 have closed and 1 is still active and providing training to approximately 50 families. Integrar´s 2008 total operational income and expenses were met thru: 14% government, 37% International and 49% self raised; Years 2004 to 2007 thru funds proceeding from: 14% government, 8% International and 78% self raised on an average.

Actions

We´ve contacted our local congress for aid and support thru an SOS request. We´ve submitted a request to the Japanese government for aid in the construction of our first building. We´ve contacted local government offices for permits and additional aid in preparing 3.5 acre land for construction and have requested monetary aid for the operation of the center. We are actively participating in local and international grant contests and donations, like “Ashoka´s Changemakers”. Preparing and circulating as much as possible the institution´s profile and needs to send to Rotary Clubs and similar organizations. We are in the process of creating an incentive package, that will require funding, for the public and private schools to speed up the process of having effective mainstreaming of our DS kids in their schools, in spite of the predominant inefficient educational system in Honduras because of extremely overpriced private schools and extremely poor and inefficient public schools with just a handful of exceptions.

Results

That sufficient funds are provided to INTEGRAR to allow us to meet our desired operational budget, which will allow us to improve the services, offered at present, since the much needed personnel is to be hired and to secure the staff considered valuable for their unconditional service provided to the DS individuals and their families. That construction funds are available to complete the perimeter wall and the first building for the transfer of our present services for the 50 children served, as well as the funds required for the construction of the rest of the DS Complex. That we will have more government aid and support to overcome our present difficulties. That funding is obtained to carry out the incentive program for the public and private schools in order to accelerate the process of effective inclusion/mainstreaming of DS children into the normal educational system. And parents more actively involved in the needs of their DS child or adult and those of INTEGRAR.

What will it take for your project to be successful over the next three years? Please address each year separately, if possible.

Year One: 1) Perimeter wall and 1st building are completed so that the services are transferred to Integrar´s new location, allowing the institution to prepare for future planned growth. 2) Sufficient funds for personnel, therapies and for administrative support. 4) Private and public schools identified and notified of the incentive plans. 5) Sports, Arts and Dance opportunities are highly improved. 7) Volunteer´s needs, programs and potentials are identified, once housing options are considered. Year two: 1) Required funds are secured for effective operation of the center. 2) Montessori material and tools are built and/or purchased, experienced staff is hired and 12 children enrolled (6+6). 3) Programs for babies and Moms are increased 4) Programs (Sports, Arts, Dance, Workshops) for Adolescents and adults with DS are increased 5) Carpentry workshop is built, relocated and producing for income generating activities 6) Funding met to incorporate private and public school incentive programs. 7) Mother´s and families more involved in various fundraising activities 8) Transportation options are secured for the children and families. 9) Bench Marking options are established with other global DS entities 10) Volunteer programs are operating 11) Construction of 2nd building. Year three: 1) Funds are secured for effective operation. 2) Montessori school is operating effectively and producing income and gaining experience. 3) Horse Therapy area completed 4) Construction of Multi-function Kiosk or Gym. 5) Volunteer and Bench Marking programs are running smoothly.

What would prevent your project from being a success?

Insufficient funding does not meet Integrar´s operational budget needs. Parents continue to be dependant and not wanting to get involved or take responsibility for the needs of the institution or those of their children. Schools are not receptive and motivated enough to want to make a difference by actively integrating DS children in their schools in spite of the incentive program. Integrar´s key professional person responsible for institution´s personnel needs (both ways) and for school incentive programs is not in control of what is expected.

How many people will your project serve annually?

101‐1000

What is the average monthly household income in your target community, in US Dollars?

$100 ‐ 1000

Does your project seek to have an impact on public policy?

Yes

Sustainability
What stage is your project in?

Operating for more than 5 years

In what country?
Is your initiative connected to an established organization?

If yes, provide organization name.
How long has this organization been operating?

More than 5 years

Does your organization have a Board of Directors or an Advisory Board?

Yes

Does your organization have any non-monetary partnerships with NGOs?

Yes

Does your organization have any non-monetary partnerships with businesses?

Yes

Does your organization have any non-monetary partnerships with government?

No

Please tell us more about how these partnerships are critical to the success of your innovation.

Much of the training of our staff is being provided by TELETON, the largest NPO in Honduras. Several local companies have also assumed the responsibility of providing specific services for Integrar, like one company that every other month sends their air conditioning technician to service Integrar´s 6 A/C units and another company that provides service to our computers for no charge whatsoever and also refills the ink supply for all the printers.

What are the three most important actions needed to grow your initiative or organization?

1) To show the world what we are doing at Integrar so that many philanthropists (private and private) will identify with our mission in favor of the DS population served in Honduras at present and in the near future, providing us with feasible answers and alternatives for getting the resources needed to accomplish our dream. A dream where we plan to transfer our present services for 50 DS individuals within next year and thence fore to compete the DS Complex with the remaining buildings and facilities needed so that we can finally service the more than 309 unattended families that are on our waiting list, plus other new families expecting Integrar to fulfill there expectations of helping them with their children also, as well as the completion of the already initiated perimeter wall in our 3.5 acre property that is required for the safety of the children and to secure Integrar´s patrimony because of the prevailing high crime rate. 2) To establish bench marking relationships with other NPO organizations worldwide, as well as close sisterhood/brotherhood relationships with DS parents organizations so that there is a constant flow of information and opportunities within no imaginable limits due to differences in culture, language, etc, etc. 3) That we have access to constantly receiving training for the most efficient and transparent operation of a non profit organization in all aspects and access to receiving qualified personnel as volunteers come to Integrar to do what they are best at doing or to train our personnel, mothers and or training candidates. Mostly needing help in Language development, occupational therapy sports therapy, etc.

The Story
What was the defining moment that led you to this innovation?

Because my only daughter Kristina was born in Honduras (1996), I was able to experience personally the necessities and disadvantages of giving birth to a child with special needs in this growing country. The lack of professionalism, services and moral support when the diagnosis was provided was shocking to my husband and me. The lack of specialized therapies that are simply “common sense” in the mind of any educated, responsible and loving parent for the road to recovery, if any of a child with learning dis-abilities. Kristina was treated once every other week for a period of 4 months. Until, my husband and I decided to find other answers. This let me to think, “That a mind is a terrible thing to waste.” And that thru God´s grace I have been entrusted my daughter´s well being and by assuming said responsibility, the mission to help, here in Honduras, all those around me with DS and their families. I know for a fact that I have been highly blessed thru Kristina, and that in spite of my personal learning disabilities with the added challenge of helping my own daughter and the rest of the Down syndrome population served thru Integrar to find alternatives that will aid in overcoming their learning difficulties. At Integrar our goal is to overcome our financial needs and space limitations as soon as possible in order to increase services provided and to increase the amount of children to be assisted, without ever sacrificing the quality of the services to be provided to each individual.

Tell us about the social innovator behind this idea.

Lucy grew up in a middle class environment in the USA, and as such, is a person who loves and favors justice for all regardless of their religion, beliefs, race, color, social, economical and/or educational status, etc. She was motivated to work for this cause after having experienced that the rehabilitation opportunities for DS individuals were practically non existent because of such long periods of time between the programming of one therapy session with the next and in many occasions witnessed very rough treatments being provided to children whose mother’s aspect gave the impression of coming from low income families. Generally speaking, this practice is very common in most government clinics and hospitals throughout Honduras. Lucy is convinced that the government and society need to take positive actions to stop this type of unfit behavior. She has a hard time dealing with these kinds of abuses and lack of respect and consideration towards any human being, and in several occasions has been pushed to stick out for them.

How did you first hear about Changemakers?

Through another organization or company

If through another, please provide the name of the organization or company
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