© 2021 by The LACA Foundation. All rights Reserved.
LACA has funded several self-help projects since
1992. The following are a few examples:
Sewing Coop In Guajiquiro, in the province of La
Paz, LACA helped fund a community “molino” (a
corn-grinding mill), purchased treadle machines for
a sewing cooperative where there is no electricity,
supplied monies to purchase flour and sugar to help
start a bakery self-help, and supplied seed monies
for cooperatives of small businesses such as local
grocery stores, grain stores, and general
Agricultural Warehouse in Rio Colorado, in the
province of Comayagua, LACA funded materials for
the people to build a “bodega” warehouse for an
agricultural co-op. The warehouse allows the
members of the cooperative to store coffee or other
volatile priced grains until the market is favorable to
sell. Oftentimes, the market middle man will
purchase the coffee at a very low figure before it is
ready to harvest. Because of the family’s economic
needs and lack of storage they had been forced to
pre-sell only to find that the coffee later sold for a
much higher price.
Bakery in Minas de Oro, in the province of
Comayagua, LACA funded a very successful bakery
self-help group. LACA also provided monies for a
water storage tank, a freezer, juice maker, coffee
pot, glass display case for bakery goods, and flour
and sugar. Prior to the startup, LACA funded a two-
day seminar for the bakery administrator on
accounting, budgeting, management, and
interpersonal relationships. The women took
classes on cake-making, decorating, and the baking
of goods that were new to them. Once the bakery
was established, the women were so enthusiastic
they asked to work every day. Not only did this self-
help project empower the women of this
community to self reliance, but they did not have to
leave their families to seek employment in urban
If you would like to assist LACA with continuing
cooperative and self-help projects or would like
more information, please check out our ways to
P.O. Box 21000
Castro Valley, CA 94546
In Honduras there are three levels of education
prior to the University: primary school (grades 1-6),
colegio, which is comparable to our middle school
(grades 7-9), and secondary school (grades 10-12).
When students graduate from secondary school,
they are prepared for a career in bookkeeping,
secretarial work, or teaching. Students can attend
the University to pursue other professions.
Fewer than 20% of the youngsters attend a
secondary school and not even 1% go on to the
University. Children living in remote areas often
must move to another town to attend even a middle
school. Poverty makes getting an education
prohibitive for the majority of children living in rural
Honduras. Room and board costs between $500
and $600 a year, depending on the city. This sum is
impossible for families with an income of $600 to
$700 a year.
One year while visiting rural schools and conducting
a dental hygiene program we noticed a very poor
little girl with sorrowful eyes looking into the
window of the classroom. We asked the teacher why
she was not in school. He responded that her
parents could not afford the notebooks and
supplies to send all three of their children to school.
The little girl would have to wait her turn. Before we
left, sufficient money was given to Srs. Knoche and
Zimmer for the girl’s education.
LACA has provided school supplies for many needy
primary school children and funded sixteen children
through their colegio education. LACA has also
provided monies for educational seminars on
ecological and environmental issues for youth in
Minas De Oro, and sponsored a two-day youth
symposium which focused on the prevention of
drug and alcohol abuse for the youth from the
areas of Minas de Oro, Esquias, San Jose de Potrero,
and San Luis.
LACA also provides yearly funding for the education
of six to eight blind students at the School for the
Blind in Tegucigalpa. “There are many blind children
in Honduras who should be attending the School for
the Blind in the capital city, but their parents cannot
afford the monthly fee. They often hide these
children because they are ashamed of their physical
defect.” (From “The Blind in Honduras”, a Fall 1997
LACA newsletter article by Sister Barbara Zimmer,
In 1993 LACA volunteers introduced the solar
cooker to a rural Honduran village as an alternative
to wood for cooking and baking. A local carpenter
built a solar cooker to our specifications and we
demonstrated it to the women of Esquias. Our plan
was to cook rice and beans. After placing the rice
and beans in the cooker we told the women to
return in 2 hours with their tortillas for a feast. The
rice was delectable, but the beans were hard as
nails. Later we discovered the beans were too old
and even after cooking them in the traditional
method for 3 hours they were still inedible.
LACA actively encourages a change from traditional
cooking to the use of solar cookers. In 1996 LACA
and the Castro Valley / Hayward California Sunrise
Rotary Club initiated a project to purchase sun-
ovens. $12,000 was raised and 100 sun ovens were
purchased and sent to Honduras. They were
assembled there and are still in use, helping to
reduce deforestation and make life easier for the
people. The solar cookers / sun ovens were
purchased from and are manufactured by Sun
Ovens International, Inc. Please see their web site
http://www.sunoven.com/ for more details.
(Another type of solar cooker is the solar stovetop
cooker. Mr. Jack Howell will donate 40% of sales
from the solar stovetop cooker to the LACA
Foundation. Please mention LACA when contacting
him. The book Cooking with the Sun, published by
Morning Sun Press, shows how to construct solar
cookers and includes some great recipes. For
further information contact Jack Howell by email
email@example.com or by fax 925-932-1383.)
LACA has already funded 11 Water Projects in rural
communities in Honduras and with future
donations, will continue to fund more. The building
of wells, latrines and water runoff/storage tanks is
very necessary for these communities and will help
reduce disease and many other common health
problems at the community level. LACA provides the
funds for the water project materials and the people
of the community contribute the labor.
In the isolated village of Corralitos the whole
community, all the men, women, and children, hand
carried the construction materials over five
kilometers of rugged terrain in order to reach their
community before they could begin the labor of
constructing their water project and 26 latrines.
The people of Pimentilla, Carboneras, Patastillas,
Pasquare, Las Machacas, Mata de Platano, and
Buenos Aires de San Ignacio are, for the first time,
enjoying clean, pure water at their homes. The
women are so happy not to have to walk long
distances with large buckets on their heads to fetch
Las Machacas, an isolated village of 63 people, was
a challenge for LACA’s representatives to reach. The
first trip to visit the village took an hour and a half
by car and 4 hours hiking on a narrow mountain
path in temperatures that reached 100 degrees.
Other Health Projects in which LACA is involved
consist of medical and dental clinics, and health
Four LACA board members and two nurses have
gone to Honduras many times in the past, to assist
the International Health Service (IHS) a group of
volunteer doctors, nurses, dentists, pharmacists,
and helpers, in staffing medical clinics. In February
1999, two board members, and a former board
member joined the IHS again, as volunteers, each
paying their own way, costs and expenses.
LACA volunteers have also provided health
education in the schools, peoples’ homes, and to
community groups. With LACA’s assistance they
have conducted sessions in dental education,
prenatal education, child care and development,
women’s health issues, and communicable diseases,
Parasitic diseases, diarrhea in infants and children,
dehydration, respiratory conditions, and severe
dental caries are common health problems in rural
Honduras. Daily consumption of contaminated
water is the main cause of these endemic parasitic
diseases. As of 1995, only fifty-three percent of rural
people have access to pure drinking water.
AIDS is becoming a critical problem. Honduras has
the highest rate of HIV infection and AIDS cases in
Central America; 60 percent of Central America’s HIV
positive population lives in this country. Health
education is greatly needed in rural Honduras.
LACA has completed and continues to promote
many different health projects in the rural
In Honduras most children do not attend school
past the sixth grade. This is the level mandated by
the government, though it is not enforced as many
parents cannot afford to buy the notebooks, pencils,
uniforms, and other supplies required by every
student to attend school.
Less than 20% of the students who attend school
through the sixth grade, continue their education.
Not all villages and towns have a “middle” school, so
students who wish to continue their education have
to move, leave their families behind, and pay rent
and board costs which can add up to $500-$600 a
year, which is equal to the annual income of most
families in Honduras.
Not even 1% of those students go on to University.
Poverty makes getting an education prohibitive for
the majority of children living in rural Honduras.
The minimum wage in Honduras is $71 a month
and does not even apply to the campesinos (farm
laborers), which reflects Honduras’ economic plight.
Young people leave their rural communities and
flock to large urban areas looking for work. Young
women leave their families for work in Maquilas
(factories) where the hours are long and the
conditions questionable. They are often
disillusioned and end up living in much greater
poverty than they left in their own community.
These rural communities need the means to
develop employment in the village structure itself,
and with LACA’s assistance and self-help
cooperative project guidance, they are getting it.
Deforestation is an overwhelming problem in third
world countries. The forests are being depleted at
an alarming rate.
Not only is wood one of Honduras’ chief exports,
but it is also still used for cooking. Early every
morning, women or children go out to gather wood
to cook the family’s meals. At one time the capital
city of Honduras, Tegucigalpa, was surrounded by a
lush forest. Now it is barren.
Since 1993, LACA has been encouraging a change
from traditional cooking with wood to the use of
solar cookers for these communities.
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