A local charity organization, HOPe, is holding a fundraiser in Rosie O'Grady's in New York on Thursday, November 13, to support their efforts to provide care and assistance to those struck by poverty throughout the world.

Since its foundation HOPe, which stands for Helping Other People, has been instrumental in reducing poverty and providing better lives for people in various countries in the developing world, including Angola, Tanzania, Peru, Cambodia, Zimbabwe and Ecuador. Most recently, ongoing efforts in Honduras, Angola and Peru keep the organization busy.

One of their main goals is to teach self-sufficiency by focusing on projects that open doors for people and enable them to take ownership when HOPe's project comes to an end.

HOPe has supported a series of projects in the San Pedro Sula area of Honduras.

The first, a community center and health clinic, offers computer classes to children and adults. The second, a health clinic and school, provides much-needed care and support to a deeply impoverished neighborhood.

Ground has been broken on the third project, a small dispensary and health clinic that will serve more remote areas.

Chairperson of the organization Siobhan O'Shea, whose father Gerry O'Shea from Kerry was one of the founders of HOPe, traveled to Honduras with treasurer Eileen Kennedy last May to be present at the opening of a the health clinic and school in Chaloma. "It was just fantastic to see the work being done there," she said, adding "and we're not finished yet."

O'Shea, 35, told the Irish Voice that the organization has just joined forces with AIDS Partnership in Africa (APA), an organization set up by a Wicklow priest called Owen Lambert. "This is a huge undertaking and we have spent the last six to eight months looking into the project, investigating it, and we have just recently agreed to partner with the organization," said O'Shea, who works with a human resource-consulting firm in Manhattan, Towers Perrin.

This most recent endeavor, which O'Shea describes as "a significant cross venture," will provide AIDS prevention and treatment to widows and children in sub-Saharan Africa, primarily in Ethiopia. "It's an enormous project but it's essential," she said.

Although the commitment involves a large monetary commitment (over $150,000 over the next three years), O'Shea is confident that great work will be done with the collaboration of both organizations. O'Shea also explains that the Irish government has agreed to match the money raised by HOPe two-fold.

O'Shea, who resides in Yonkers, hopes to travel to Africa in the New Year with some of the other HOPe members to see the project in action.

As a part of a series of HOPe visits to Honduras, O'Shea has also traveled to Costa Rica to visit a carpentry school being built by HOPe just outside San Jose. Describing the place as extremely underdeveloped, O'Shea said that people there live in huts at the side of mountains with no sewer systems.

"The work HOPe is doing there is great. A carpentry school is built that will start by teaching 10 boys at a time a much-needed skill. And when those students progress, they spend time teaching and mentoring new students," she says.

HOPe is also in the process of investigating another project in Peru that would involve creating more clinics and schools, but it's still in the early stages said O'Shea.

Unlike other charities, which have staff and administration costs, HOPe pride themselves in the fact that at least 90 percent of their funds go directly to the people on the ground who need it. "At the moment we are working on 96 percent," said O'Shea.

The individuals in the organization pay for or raise their own travel expenses when they visit projects overseas.

The next HOPe fundraiser will take place at Rosie O'Grady's Manhattan Club (sponsors of the event) on Thursday, November 13 between 6:30-9:30 p.m. Lambert will be on hand to discuss AIDS Partnership and what work will be done since HOPe have committed to partner with them.

To find out more about HOPe or to donate log onto www.HOPe-charity.org