Houlton Region

Helping Honduras is mission of non-profit group

HOULTON, Maine — The Houlton Rotary Club learned of the non-profit organization Sustainable Empowerment Leadership Foundation (SELF), during its Jan. 6 luncheon meeting. Jen Cavalari, a hospitalist at HRH and the co-founder of the non-profit, was invited to be the guest speaker for the day, by Rotarian Chris Nickerson from Bangor Savings Bank.

Cavalari who is a native of California, is a partner with a Hondoran nurse, and together they bring knowledge and positive energies to their non-profit organization. They work in collaboration with the people of Honduras to help bring sustainable solutions to that community.  

The two focus on four elements — direct health care services, education workshops, clean water projects, and micro-enterprise projects. They base the location of their projects on the communities and how engaged they are in wanting the improvements. Those communities need to be involved in the process and willing to be financially engaged and ready to raise community money to make the improvements.

One of the big things SELF works on in Honduras is the water issue. Hookworm is one of the biggest contaminants. Cavalari pointed out that without clean water, the children can’t learn as well, and if they can’t learn as well at a young age, it’s setting the community up for lower success in the future.  

Many of the families live on less than $5 a day, and 60 percent live off $1 a day. SELF, along with the Nuevo Paraiso Community, has recently completed the construction of the first elevated clean water tank after being without clean water for 40 years. This brings a whole new appreciation to the thought of just simply turning on the faucet to get a drink of water each morning.

SELF partners with organizations all over the world to help bring on these changes.  As she quoted, “Sustainable partnerships make sustainable projects.” Check out the SELF website at selfhn.org to find out more about this organization, to donate  to the cause, or to learn how to volunteer.

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