Lorena Fuentes-Montiel talking to the kids she serves in Trujillo Colon, Honduras (Photo Credit Lorena Fuentes-Montiel)
“You can do service everyday by setting an example for other people,” says Lorena Fuentes-Montiel, a junior and business management major at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke.
Fuentes-Montiel is the founder of the organization Actuemos Por Los Niño’s De Honduras (Lets Act for the Kids in Honduras). With this organization, Fuentes-Montiel provides resources for the low-income families of Honduras and ensures that children don’t have to choose between paying for necessities or education.
“It was sad to see how young girls were expected to stay home and help with housework while young men were able to go out and educate themselves.” says Fuentes-Montiel.
In Honduras, families often don’t have enough money to send all their children to school, so it is common for families to only send their sons to be educated, while daughters helped their families with housework. With her family originating in Honduras, this problem hits very close to home for Fuentes-Montiel.
Fuentes-Montiel uses her strong feminist values as a catalyst to ensure that young girls have the same opportunities that young boys do.
“Young women are often seen as stay at home moms or stay at home wives in our culture, and never really have an opportunity to branch out and do something else,” Fuentes-Montiel said.
Her mother is a strong influence on her organization.
“My mother was among the very few lucky women to have enough money to obtain an education. If my mother had never obtained her education, I could be one of the young girls who can’t afford education,” she said.
In Honduras her mother was an engineer and her father an accountant.
“Education is really important in my family, and to be able to help provide education for someone who can’t get it otherwise is amazing to me” Fuentes-Montiel said.
Fuentes-Montiel is hopeful and full of ideas about the future of her organization.
“My hope is to expand the organization to more countries that need help with providing education,” she said.
She also plans to bring volunteers to Honduras and allow a more hands on approach to service.
(Photo Credit Lorena Fuentes-Montiel)