Great Hill Partners’ Donation of Shelter and Hope to Honduras Orphanage
Each year, Great Hill Partners aligns with Lidia and Adrian Portillo (GHP's Office Services Manager) to participate in providing vital resources to the Portillos’ three orphanages located in Central America. Adrian, a long-time employee of Great Hill, and his wife, Lidia, founded the orphanages in 2015 to help alleviate the widespread homelessness children in Honduras face as a result of violence and poverty. 2020, however, as for many around the world, has presented the Portillos with numerous challenges. The COVID-19 pandemic logistically and financially affected the ability of the orphanage’s all-volunteer staff to procure enough food and safety supplies for the children. In November, Honduras faced unprecedented devastation from not one, but two consecutive hurricanes that ravaged the country over the course of two weeks. Widespread predictions of increased homelessness, poverty, and violence dominated media stories covering the catastrophe.
En Tu Presencia orphanage, home to more than 250 children, ranging in age from infants to young adults, was completely destroyed by Hurricane Eta and its condition worsened with the arrival of Hurricane Iota less than a week later. In the days leading up to Hurricane Eta’s landfall, the Portillos made the decision to relocate the children and staff to Adrian’s family farm, further inland. The children were safe, but the structure the Portillos built over a period of nine months in 2015, was unrecognizable. The roof had been wrenched from the building by the 150 mph winds. Beds, cribs, and other furniture were shattered. Even when the building is once again structurally sound, without the sustainable clean water system, installed only last year, and the electrical, it would be impossible for the children and staff to return. The two bridges that connect the area where the orphanage is located to the main city were also destroyed, making the transportation of materials and the construction team challenging. Local authorities anticipate clearing debris and thoroughly cleaning the site could take up to two months. Then, “We just have to rebuild,” said Adrian, “there is no other option than to start working.”
Despite the numerous obstacles they face, the Portillos are hopeful, in part due to the outpouring of support they have received locally and from Great Hill Partners, whose donation will make it possible for them to not only expediate construction, but continue to care for the children while they wait to return home. This includes their annual holiday celebration, which until the donation, seemed impossible. Adrian said, “That is the most important thing right now, to give the children hope.”