About HCRF

It was clear that Sister Rosa, the founder of Sociedad Amigos de los Niños, could use some help. Over many decades she had become legendary for helping the children of Honduras with very limited resources. (Read more below.) Many compared her work to that of Mother Theresa in India. Groups from Gesu Parish in Cleveland, Ohio had visited and made financial contributions, but it became obvious that a better funding source could empower Honduran children to achieve better life outcomes.

In 2004, a group of previous visitors to Honduras was organized by David A. Smith to establish a larger, more reliable income stream for Sister Rosa’s organization. Honduran Children’s Rescue Fund (HCRF) was incorporated to raise funds for the children of Honduras through charitable benefits, solicitation of grants and donations, and social awareness projects. The organization eventually achieved status as a Tax-Exempt Charitable Corporation and through 2019, has sent over $3,500,000 to support Sister Rosa’s initiatives. And, over the years, the activities of HCRF have expanded from just fundraising to include gathering donations of medical equipment, pharmaceuticals, medicines, clothing, books, toys, and much more. HCRF has also learned how to leverage its impact by working with partner organization.

Why Honduras

Honduras, with a population of about 9.1 million people, is located in Central America bordering Guatemala, Nicaragua and El Salvador. It is the 2nd poorest country in our hemisphere, behind Haiti. There are high rates of adolescent pregnancy and this leads to high infant and maternal mortality rates. Honduras also suffers from many preventable communicable diseases and healthcare is very limited.

The economy is growing slowly, but the distribution of wealth remains very polarized. More than half of the population lives below the poverty line and about a third of the normal workforce is unemployed. Crime and "gang" activities are prevalent especially in port cities in the northwest part of the country.

Because of political instability, with a change of governing parties, the country is making some progress in solving its core problems. Foreign aid from the U.S. and other countries has diminished to some degree but there has been an increase in private humanitarian aid.

Honduras is only a 2 ½ hour plane ride from Miami or Houston yet it is a "world away". People living in "barrio "slums or isolated in rural villages are desperately in need of the basic services that will allow them to become productive members of society.

Sister Rosa

Since 1965, Sor Maria Rosa Leggol has been an influential religious and civic leader who has initiated and developed numerous programs to improve the quality of life for more than 40,000 children throughout Honduras and Central America. She has also aided thousands of victims of environmental and economic disasters through relief efforts and humanitarian brigades.

Known affectionately by the citizens of Honduras as Sor Maria Rosa, she is referred to as the “Mother Theresa” of Central America. Citizens might not know the name of the cardinal, but they always seem to know the name Sor Maria Rosa. She has been named as one of the most influential women in Honduras, had a postage stamp created in her honor, and has been awarded the “Gold Leaf Award” , an honor usually reserved for men who have been distinguished leaders in Honduras, and was the first woman to do so.

Because she herself was an orphan, Sor Maria Rosa witnessed firsthand the lack of loving care and individual personal attention given to children who had lost their parents. From her own experience she was inspired at a very early age to create a more loving environment and better living conditions for the children of her home country. The first children raised under her care were children whose mothers were in prison.

Sor Rosa died peacefully on October 16, 2020, at the age of 94 years. She prayed hours each day to Our Lady of Suyapa, the patroness of Honduras who appeared to a poor farmer in 1747, for help in her ministry. Every person who came in contact with Sor Rosa was touched by her goodness and zeal for helping and protecting her children. Her motivation and her vision bring thousands of volunteers every year to help in this work.