MANOS DE AMOR POR BAHIA (Translation: Hands of Love for the Bay)
Calle Rio Balsas y Rio Compostela
Colonia El Tule Dorado
Bucerias, Nayarit, Mexico
Manos de Amor is the orphanage located in Bucerias. By rental car, the cute Mexican town of Bucerias is located about 20 minutes north of the PVR airport in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.
MISSION STATEMENT: To provide love, compassion, and through proper education give each child the opportunity to heal, develop self-esteem and understand the true values of life and society. To encourage each child to achieve their full potential while understanding that there is nothing more empowering than the feeling of having a purpose in life, therefore helping our society to progress and prosper in the next generations to come.
THE CONCEPT: Manos de Amor por Bahia began with the desire of citizens of Bucerias to help the less fortunate. It started with a food and clothing distribution program servicing children in the poorer colonias of Bucerias. Through the food distribution service it quickly became evident that there was a great need for a safe haven for many of these less fortunate children. Thus, the non-profit organization Manos de Amor de Bahia was established on April 13, 2004. This new, all-volunteer organization funded only by donations focused on the construction of an orphanage. On January 24, 2008, construction of the orphanage began. In April 2009, the building was completed and children began living there. This was the first “Casa Hogar” in the area, and since its conception has been filling the needs of “social” orphans in Bucerias, Mexico.
These children are without homes because parents or extended family are unable to care for them. The origins of homeless children are rooted in the general issues of poverty in Mexico. Contributing causes are:
- Divorce or separation of the parents
- Family and domestic violence
- Personal illness of one or both parents
- Alcohol and/or drug and solvent abuse by parents or the child
- One or both parents in prison
- Child is unable to work and contribute to the family’s income
- Parental lack of literacy skills and schooling
- Mental health and/or physical health problems in either the parents or the child
- Poverty or unemployment
The goal of Manos de Amor is to provide these children with food, clothing, and shelter, as well as to ensure that they attend school and to give them a safe haven for as long as needed.
THE REALITY: As the community of Bucerias grows, so does the house. They originally started with three to eight children, but they can now house up to 32 children. They have already added a dorm and bathroom, have installed a roof, and replaced their washing machines with commercial-grade models. Thankfully they receive assistance from some very generous organizations as well as help from a few dedicated individuals who make donations throughout the year. However, to serve the ongoing needs of the children funding their growing budget is a continual challenge.
TOURIST VOLUNTEERS: For those who can take the time to visit Manos de Amor, volunteers are always welcome. Please contact the orphanage to arrange a visit.
The following are ways that volunteers can help the children:
- English lessons and/or helping the children with their homework
- Interacting with the children by reading stories to them in Spanish
- Writing to the children of Manos de Amor through pen-pal letters
- Volunteering to do the laundry
- Plumbing, electrical, painting, yard work, and general maintenance
- Planning a lunch, dinner or party for the children
- Organizing a fundraising event with family, friends or associates
DONATIONS: Through generous contributions from donors like you, the orphanage is provided with the financial and moral support needed to continue its mission. Donations to Manos de Amor can be made in person by cash or check. Checks are payable to: Manos de Amor por Bahia A.C. Checks can be mailed to: Manos de Amor de Bahia A.C., Rio Balsas y Rio Compostela, Colonia El Tule Dorado, Bucerias, Nayarit, Mexico, CP. 63732. Donations can also be made via Paypal on their website: www.manosdeamor.com