The Health-bringing Power of Animals: Donkeys at the El Hogar Orphanage

El Hogar de Ninos is an orphanage located just outside the town of Santa Barbara in the Northeast of Honduras. Situated in a beautiful natural landscape of rolling hills and a river valley, it provides a home for around 60 children who otherwise would still be on the streets or in the midst of complex, traumatic family situations.

Lisa van Holsteijn, one of educate.’s board members, has a personal connection with many of these children as she worked there regularly during her time teaching as a volunteer in the neighbouring town of Trinidad in 2014/15. She maintained contact with the orphanage, and it is through discussions with their director that educate. decided to support the creation of an animal therapy programme at the home.

This animal therapy programme will, for the time being, consist of a mother donkey and her baby who the children will have the responsibility to feed, look after and of course play with. A shelter has been constructed for them on the grounds of the orphanage, and an on-site psychologist, who proposed this programme, will be working with the children and animals. We hope that through spending time caring for these animals, it will help the children to cope with their traumas, control impulsivity and aggression and improve their social skills.

Several weeks ago we transferred the first installment, and we’ve just heard back from the director saying that they are busy building the stable as Cornelia, the mother donkey, has just given birth to adorable little baby Camila! (Complete with a white fluffy forehead! – as shown in the photos below). The children are very excited to welcome Cornelia and Camila to the home. All in all, we hope that caring for these donkeys will help prepare these children for healthy adult lives.

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