Conquering “La Bestia” to Find a Future

Honduras has the highest murder rate in the world – surpassing  Syria. Of the ten most dangerous cities in the world, five are in Honduras. Families and children live in fear of gangs and drug traffickers, unsure if they will live another day. Thousands of people have fled to neighboring countries in search of safety, including children like Denis who have summoned every ounce of courage they have to escape Honduras by themselves.

At the age of 8, Denis’ father passed away, forcing him to stop attending school so he could support his family by picking coffee beans. He continued this exhausting work for six years to care for his brothers and ill mother. His mom remarried but Denis was the target of much of his stepfather’s abuse.

The trauma Denis faced inside and outside of his home brought him to the brink of a life-altering decision when he was just 16 years old. If he remained in Honduras, his future would consist of dodging gang members, protecting his mother, and praying for another day to come. If he left, he could go to school, find a job, raise a family, and hopefully send money to his siblings and mother who were in desperate need of food and clean water.

To get to the United States, Denis traveled 3,000 miles by himself and rode on top the notoriously dangerous train dubbed “La Bestia” (the Beast) because of how many children let go of the rails from exhaustion and fell between the train cars. Fortunately for Denis, he never fell and his courage never faltered. When he arrived in the US, authorities took him into custody and determined after a few months that Denis could not be sent home and was given a legal visa to remain in the U.S. With the help of LSS/NCA staffers, Denis was placed into a loving foster home that guided him through the cultural and emotional obstacles he faced in his new community. Within a year, Denis was told that his foster family wanted to make him a permanent part of their family by adopting him.

Now that he is living in a safe and supportive environment, Denis is enrolled in high school and working hard, knowing that he is much more fortunate than many others. He is looking forward to college and is considering a career in electrical engineering. His mother has nothing but warm words for Denis and has said “this whole community and our country benefits from having him here…He’s brought so much laughter to our house…”

Children like Denis can’t risk another day. If you would like to open your home to a child in need like Denis, please fill out a Foster Parent Information Form today.

 

Sources:
http://wamu.org/news/14/07/23/local_foster_families_shelter_central_american_refugee_children
 http://www.cnn.com/2014/04/10/world/un-world-murder-rates/
 http://www.nydailynews.com/news/world/murderous-city-san-pedro-sula-honduras-article-1.1179656
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