NPH Guatemala Receives Visit from Congresswoman Janice Hahn
And Meets With Guatemalan First Lady, Rosa Leal de Pérez
August 25, 2014 - Guatemala
As the issue of unaccompanied minors emigrating from Central America to the U.S. remains in the international spotlight, Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos (NPH) Guatemala received California’s 44th District Congresswoman Janice Hahn and met with Guatemalan First Lady Rosa Leal de Pérez last week.
NPH provides a permanent family and home for over 3,300 orphaned, abandoned and at-risk children in nine countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. As the U.S. continues to mitigate the humanitarian crisis of undocumented and unaccompanied minors fleeing Central American countries, Representative Hahn toured the NPH home to observe what viable deterrents exist at the local level.
Rep. Hahn, who co-chaired this year’s National Prayer Breakfast in Washington D.C., was in Guatemala to deliver the keynote address at Guatemalan’s 2nd Annual Prayer Breakfast. In attendance were Guatemalan President Otto Pérez Molina, former Governor of South Carolina David Beasley, and high-level actors of Guatemalan government, telecommunications firms and national banks, along with NPH representatives.
“The best way to help the less fortunate is to soften the hearts and strengthen the minds of their leaders,” said the Congresswoman, shortly after announcing to the room of invitees that she would soon visit the children of NPH Guatemala.
Before the Congresswoman’s Friday visit to the NPH home, NPH Guatemala’s National Director Christopher Hoyt met privately with Guatemalan First Lady Rosa Leal de Pérez, Rep. Hahn, Interim Ambassador to Guatemala Charisse Phillips, Bishop Juan Carlos Mendez, and NPH supporter, Lisa Rossi. They discussed strategies to address the ongoing humanitarian crisis and fortify collaboration between NPH Guatemala and the agency of social welfare, which the First Lady oversees.
Following their meetings, National Director Christopher Hoyt stated, “Congresswoman Hahn and First Lady Leal de Pérez understand the need to attack the root cause of emigrating youth. Unaccompanied minors are fleeing to the U.S. as a result of insecurity, lack of technical and formal educational opportunities, and unstable family environments.” Hoyt continued, “Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos protects and forms young leaders, offers the promise of trade school and higher education, and above all, provides a family of unconditional love. We are pleased that these leaders recognize the critical importance of NPH in Guatemala and all the countries we serve.”
Friday afternoon, Rep. Hahn and Bishop Mendez visited the NPH Guatemala home, school, and vocational workshops. Over 300 children and youth of NPH Guatemala, from infants to university students, welcomed them with a performance of the NPH marching band and our traditional Marimba players. The performance was dedicated to the Rossi family, who facilitated the Congresswoman’s visit and who have supported the NPH soccer and music program in memory of Leo and Lisa’s late son, Ryan.
"The children greeted us with big smiles and warm hugs,” expressed the Congresswoman after seeing the home. “As we toured the facility I was impressed with the quality of life the children are provided and the warmth and love they receive from the staff."
On the importance of Rep. Hahn’s visit to their home, Hoyt stated that “Congresswoman Hahn’s visit underscores the confidence that elected officials and donors have had in NPH for 60 years. Our supporters recognize that education is the key to lifting children out of the cycle of poverty, and for six decades, NPH has done just that. Today’s humanitarian crisis sends a message loud and clear: the need for NPH to reach more orphaned and vulnerable children in the region is greater now more than ever. We just invite more people to roll up their sleeves and join us.”
As to the future of the children served by NPH, “There is no doubt that these children have faced challenges few of us can imagine, but NPH has stepped in to ensure they are safe and have a chance to receive the education and support they would not otherwise get," added Hahn. "Thanks to NPH, these children have a bright future and I hope they will have an opportunity to live their dreams."