International Service Project – Honduras

Amigos de Jesus, Honduras
Amigos de Jesus, Honduras

Amigos de Jesus

Since 2000, engineering students have worked on various projects for Amigos de Jesus, a Catholic orphanage in Poses Verdes, Honduras. The project took root within the Civil Engineering capstone course after Drs. David Dinehart and Shawn Gross traveled there with a team of students to design and build a 30 foot cross that can be seen for miles away. Since then, Villanova students and faculty have constructed a volunteer center, school buildings, dormitories and other educational facilities that benefit not only the children at the orphanage, but also those from the community who would otherwise have no access to a bilingual education. Drs. Bridget Wadzuk and Andrea Welker also included projects in the Civil Engineering service learning course to assist with the design and installation of a water pumping, treatment and distribution system at the orphanage.  Most recently, students completed the design of a two story church for the site, which is now nearly complete.

The U.S. State Department started issuing travel advisories for Honduras around 2011 and as a result, Villanova has not permitted any student trips to the Amigos de Jesus Home for Children since that time. Students remain involved, however, in design projects. In addition, Jeffrey Cook, manager of Villanova’s Structural Engineering Lab, still receives regular updates on the progress of the chapel construction and other ongoing construction projects. 

Amigos de Jesus, Honduras

Student Testimonials

Michael Raulli ’00 CE was involved in the design and construction of the cross during the first year:

"From an engineering standpoint, it was extremely valuable.  Normally, you work on engineering-related projects and that's where it stops.  You never get to see things take physical shape. The construction helped us better understand what we were doing and made us realize what kind of considerations you might never have thought of if you did only the design work.  The personal side of the experience was by far the most valuable part of the trip.  The work we were doing was something that had value in the real world.  Traveling to a country far different from our own, and working with people so different from others whom we deal with every day, was a unique experience."

International Service Project - Honduras

Christian Paggi ’11 CE reflected on his work on the water purification project:

 “WE DID IT!!!! After a year of struggle, I think we finally accomplished clean water at Amigos. It wasn't pretty, it didn't go smoothly, and a lot of us got wet, but in the end we were all able to touch glasses in a toast to what hopefully is the start of a long-lasting system for the hogar. The dedication of the group to work through all the speed bumps and kinks, climbing in tanks and mixing concrete, all with smiles on their faces, was simply awesome to witness and be a part of.”

Interested?

With a U.S. State Department warning in place, we currently cannot travel to Honduras. We are, however, continuing to design for Amigos de Jesus.   

In the News

Philadelphia effort gives children in Honduras hope” – Philadelphia Inquirer, 9/29/2014