Manos de Amor was the vision of a group of Bucerias residents who wanted to construct and maintain an orphanage or shelter in Bucerias, the first in this area. At that time there was nowhere for the children of the bay who were in need.
The Wikipedia definition of orphanage: …a residential institution devoted to the care of orphans-children whose biological parents are deceased or otherwise unable or unwilling to care for them.
The children who are housed in this Casa Hogar are not necessarily children without parents. Many times they are children whose parents are either unwilling or unable to care for them. Contributing factors to this type of family breakdown are:
- Divorce of separation of the parents
- Death of one or both parents
- Family and domestic violence
- Personal illness of parent (s) or caretakers
- Alcohol and/or drug and solvent abuse by parents or the children.
- Neglect and abuse of the child
- One or both parents in prison
- Child unable to work and contribute to the family income
- Parental lack of literacy skills and schooling
- Poor social skills and life skills of the parents
- Mental health, mental handicap, and/or physical health problems in either the parents or the child
- Family homeless
- Emigration, economic migration of the parents to the U.S.
- Single parents unable to combine work and childcare
For example, a number of years ago, three children were brought to the house by DIF (the Mexican counterpart of Family Services). The neighbors had reported the mother for child abuse. The children were 3, 5 and 7 years old. The mother would tie the oldest two to their chairs while she went to work. The baby brought them food and drink during the day. These three children stayed with us for six weeks, until an uncle took them into his home. He had not been aware of the conditions in the family home. This was not an isolated case – it is in fact a regular story here at Casa Hogar. Often an older sibling, a young teenager, is attempting to care for the younger children because the father and mother have died or have abandoned them. In times past, the extended family would take these children but in Mexico, as in the United States and Canada, families have scattered across the country. The older family may still live in Mexico City and the younger ones have moved to this area to work. So, the family is not here to help even if they are able. Our hope is to provide these children with food, clothing and shelter, ensure that they attend school and church, and give them a safe haven for as long as necessary. Hopefully, when the home situation improves, they can return to their family.
Ground was broken for the orphanage on January 24, 2008. Fortunately an angel came into our lives in the form of Guadalupe Dipp. Lupe is an architect and well know local philanthropist. When she learned that we were running out of money, she volunteered to match the donations we received and to complete the construction of the orphanage. With her construction crews and her knowledge, construction was completed. We also met with the local Rotary club who, in partnership with a Rotary Club in Invermeer, Alberta, Canada, and Rotary International, funded the purchase of our kitchen and laundry equipment for the new home. The new building for Manos de Amor was officially opened on the Day of the Children, April 30, 2009.
In 2013 we went green!! We raised enough money that with the help of E Sun Solar Energy, we were able to install enough solar panels to reduce our energy bill to zero!!!
We are grateful for the help of our many donors and volunteers who have continued to help maintain, renovate and improve the building and yard. Other groups have helped raise funds to purchase food and hire staff. Eagle’s Wings and Lifeline of Hope are just two of the many organizations who have made the success of Manos de Amor possible.