TEGUCIGALPA – Spanish missionary Patricio Larrosa’s work serving the poor in Honduras for 25 years via the Collaboration and Effort Association (ACOES) project has motivated Spain’s ambassador to Tegucigalpa to propose him for Spain’s prestigious Princess of Asturias Award.
“I proposed the ACOES project for the Princess of Asturias Award (which will be presented on June 21) because it has very marked virtues. The first is that it’s focused on the most marginal zones in Honduras,” Spanish Ambassador Miguel Albero told EFE in the Honduran capital.
The second virtue Albero considered is that the people helped by the missionary, known as “Father Patricio,” are what sustain the foundation.
“The foundation is supported by people who have first received ... aid and then return (it) to the foundation by working for it,” the diplomat emphasized.
The third virtue is the number of Spaniards who come to the country, who invest much time in a silent way, who come to spend their sometimes lengthy vacations helping ACOES in its mission, ranging from doctors to university professors and students, he emphasized.
The envoy also said that throughout Spain there are support groups for ACOES, which is not well-known outside the Iberian nation, although it has “a very big profile.”
“However, I think that they’re doing marvelous work and so they deserve an award that would help them and allow the people to learn about what they do,” he added.
ACOES, which receives help from some 70,000 benefactors per year, of whom 11,000 are students, is one of the main humanitarian organizations in Honduras, present in 12 of the country’s 18 provinces in both remote and marginal communities.
Its main operations center is in the neighborhood of Monterrey, in far southern Tegucigalpa, where it attends to children, young people, mothers and the elderly via a program of values training.
The foundation is operated and managed by students between 14-30, backed by a group of Spanish missionaries.
In addition, ACOES is regularly supported by several prestigious public and private institutions, both Spanish and Honduran, which shows the benefit of its activities and its ability to achieve results.
Other entities such as the United Nations, the European Union, Cooperacion Española, universities and city halls in Spain, and more, also contribute to the ACOES mission of values training for poor Hondurans in a country with high rates of violence.
The project headed by Father Patricio, which is largely directed by young Hondurans, also has the help of 200 experienced volunteers from Spain who come to spend their vacations here and work together with them, along with about 800 others who work from Spain, Canada, Germany, the US and France.
The Spanish missionary, meanwhile, says that “every day is a new opportunity to share, to serve.”