Mathews resident working to help her native Hondurans

by Sherry Hamilton - Posted on Nov 07, 2012 - 12:40 PM

Photo: Jeannette Needham of Mathews, is raising funds to help build a kitchen on a schoolhouse in a poor rural community in the mountains of Honduras. Photo by Sherry Hamilton

Jeannette Needham of Mathews, is raising funds to help build a kitchen on a schoolhouse in a poor rural community in the mountains of Honduras. Photo by Sherry Hamilton

Mathews resident Jeannette Needham is once again working on a project to help poor people in her native country, Honduras.

A U.S. citizen whose family immigrated to New Orleans when she was 13, Needham regularly visits family and friends in Honduras, and she always comes home longing to help that country’s less fortunate citizens.

Several years ago, she raised enough money to buy a used school bus for students who had been riding to school standing in the back of an open flatbed truck. That bus is still in operation, she said, and the local Catholic church is providing gas and maintenance. This time, she said, she hopes to build a kitchen.

When Needham visited Honduras this August, her 25-year-old cousin, Doris Paz, took her to a one-room village schoolhouse in the mountains of Honduras where 60 children are taught by one teacher, who supplements his meager salary by moonlighting as a welder.

Needham said the children at the Las Flores school have few books and supplies, so while she was there she donated some money for two new blackboards and some paint, but what the school needs most of all, she said, is a kitchen and storage space.