In February of 2000, a group of Habitat for Humanity missionaries visited Honduras for the first time. In October of that year, they returned to Honduras to help build another home. It was on this trip that they ran into a 14 year old boy named Osman Palma. They had worked on his house during the February build. Osman was now working to support his family, making $6.00 a week. He lived in a small shack with no windows or facilities.
Being very naïve, the group could not understand how this could be. Why wasn’t he living at home in his new house and attending school?
After leaving Honduras members of the mission team, Anna Beningo, Peter Borg, Sherry Kunkel and Christian Borg made a commitment to help save all the children of Honduras, or so they thought. Over the next months the team made more trips to Honduras to find out what the true need was there for the children. They learned that the need was to get the children off of the streets during the day while their single mothers were working.
In July of 2001, we became incorporated under the name of Osman Hope. Anna Beningo was the president, Peter Borg was the Treasurer and Christian Borg was the Secretary. Sherry became a Board Member. In September of 2001 Osman Hope started construction of our first shelter in La Lima, Honduras. In November of 2001, we became a 501(c)3 Non-Profit. In December, our first ten children entered the La Lima shelter.
Over the years we have grown to four shelters caring for close to 180 children. They range in age from 4 to 18. It had never been our intention to care for teenagers. As the children approached Secondary School, however, we felt it would have been a huge mistake the throw them back into the streets. So we started a Secondary School Scholarship Program. The children have to earn their scholarship through good grades and good behavior. Throughout the school year, their grades are reviewed in person by one of the Board members. Only 10.2% of Hondurans over the age of 24 have a Secondary School degree. Over the last three years, 11 children have graduated from Secondary School. Over time, we believe the graduation rate from the children attending the Osman Hope shelters will be close to 80%.
Osman Hope is run solely by volunteers. We have eight Board Members who meet by conference call monthly and meet in person once a year. Osman Hope’s overhead costs are roughly 5.0% of the total budget and these costs are paid by the Board Members. 100% of all other donations go directly to support the children.