Local organization helping international students get scholarships

Published: Oct. 16, 2017 at 4:55 PM CDT
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There's a local organization making a difference on a global scale.

Shelter the Homeless International Projects helps women and children who live in impoverished conditions in El Salvador.

The organization's annual luncheon is coming up Tuesday.

Monday on First News at Four, Ceci Telles and Zuleyma Molina joined us to talk about their experience in the program.

They are from El Salvador.

More information about SHIP:

From time to time, SHIP is made aware of specific needs in central Texas that we can assist with in some way. The majority of our volunteers are located in Bryan/College Station, and the assistance needed is usually within driving distance of our volunteers.

Our most frequent need for volunteers is at the SHIP Resale Shop, which is located at 2905 Cavitt Street in Bryan. Examples of the types of volunteer opportunities available there include:

Picking up and/or unloading donations.

Sorting and organizing donations.

Maintaining the community garden.

Loading a shipping container with items to send to SHIP El Salvador for our women's work center.

If you are interested in being notified when SHIP has been made aware of a specific need, or if you would like to volunteer at the SHIP Resale Shop, please contact us at to be added to our email notification list.

Located in Central America, the country of El Salvador is nestled between Honduras and Guatemala, and bordered by the Pacific Ocean. The natural beauty of the country can be seen in the lush jungle mountains, forests, and exotic flowers that bloom freely everywhere. The people of El Salvador are very friendly and gracious; however, wide-spread poverty is pervasive throughout this third-world country. Its capitol city, San Salvador, is located near the middle of the country.

When Robert and Ann Horton first visited the original orphanage in El Salvador in 2004, 34 people – 28 children who had been abandoned, neglected, and/or abused and had been taken into the orphanage; the orphanage director, his wife, and their three children; and a grandmother who had nowhere to go – lived in an abandoned school with less than 1,600 square feet of living space.

This building was located on the side of a steep hill and overlooked a busy highway below. They did most of their cooking over an open flame in a 55-gallon barrel. The girls had a bedroom, and the boys had their room, each with bunk beds placed together so tightly that the only way to get in bed was by climbing in from the foot. The bathroom toilets flushed sometimes, and often water was not available for showers or cleaning or cooking for days. The building and driveway were kept as clean as possible, but the conditions were extremely substandard. The children had little to no room for playing, and there were many safety concerns with this location and building.

Although the Hortons had originally considered this a "one-time trip" to assess the suitability of a potential site for a new orphanage, they were deeply moved by the joy on the children's faces despite their circumstances, and SHIP was founded. Wheels were set in motion, and nonprofit status was obtained later that year. Funds were raised to move them to a safer location with more adequate housing. Thanks to SHIP's generous donors, 12 acres of property on which to build an orphanage was purchased and completely paid for in 2004.