Twelve orphaned girls in Honduras now have a secure, stable home thanks to two organizations founded by Shin Fujiyama ’07.
The Villa Soleada Girls Home, which opened in August, provides young residents with housing, food, education, supervision, sports programs, and medical and psychological care – and someday, college. The orphanage is the culmination of a longtime dream for Fujiyama.
He first volunteered in Honduras as a UMW undergraduate, and the experience opened his eyes to “the state of children, especially girls, who struggle against poverty and unimaginable violence in the developing world,” he said in a video about his time there.
While still a UMW student, Fujiyama founded Students Helping Honduras, an organization that has since grown to encompass dozens of college and high school chapters. More recently, Fujiyama and SHH created Central American Children’s Institute, specifically to help Honduran children.
The home for girls cost $50,000 to build and furnish. It is in the community of Villa Soleada, which SHH helped develop in the past decade as a sustainable village for former residents of an urban shantytown.
Besides establishing Villa Soleada and opening the orphanage, SHH and CACI have built a dozen schools in Honduras; eventually, the groups hope to build 1,000 schools. Volunteers come from around the world to work on the projects, and money comes from campus-chapter fundraising efforts and private donations large and small.