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Student relief agency scores more funds for needy Hondurans
By RUSTY DENNEN
After winning a $20,000 grant from Dodge this summer, Students Helping Honduras snagged another $10,000 for ongoing relief work in Central America.
SHH, founded by Shin Fujiyama, won the money Thursday in a contest sponsored by razoo.com.
Fujiyama, a 2007 University of Mary Washington graduate, said SHH chapters at UMW, Georgetown University, Virginia Tech, the College of William & Mary and the University of Virginia "stepped up to the plate" by urging fellow students and other supporters to vote for SHH.
Razoo, which promotes grass-roots philanthropy worldwide, put up $10,000 for the organization getting the most votes on its Web site's Change Your World Contest.
Over the summer, SHH got similar support to win Dodge's GrabLife GiveLife online contest.
A much bigger infusion of money came from a walkathon at UMW in April, which raised $110,000. A gift from local philanthropist Doris Buffett's Sunshine Lady Foundation brought the total to $200,000.
SHH is using the money to help the poor in Siete de Abril, a refugee village, and at Copprome, an orphanage in El Progreso, Honduras. Honduras is one of the poorest countries in the Americas.
In seven service trips since 2004, many with the UMW Campus Christian Community, SHH has built 23 roofs, a school and a public bathroom in the village.
Homes there are shacks built with materials scavenged from a nearby dump. Drinking water is contaminated and malaria is a killer. Many of the residents moved there as squatters after Hurricane Mitch devastated Honduras in 1998.
SHH plans to build permanent houses for the 72 families that live in the village. They will be built there if the government will give the villagers title to the land. If not, SHH may purchase land elsewhere.
At Copprome, SHH built a dormitory and education center at the orphanage and retired its debt.
Fujiyama's sister, Cosmo, a 2007 graduate of the College of William & Mary, and his brother, Gaku, a sophomore at Virginia Tech, also are working with SHH. Rotary Clubs from the Fredericksburg area have chipped in money, supplies and volunteers.Students Helping Honduras: studentshelpinghonduras.org Rusty Dennen: 540/374-5431