" We make a living by what we get.
We make a life by what we give. "


Friends of Hope International, Inc was founded by Esteban Almonte, Carmen L. Fernandez & Liony Batista. Having worked in humanitarian disaster relief, project development and the collaboration of sustainable projects in Latin America and the Caribbean, Mr. Batista, Mrs. Fernandez & Mr. Almonte felt the need to work independently with a group of like-minded individuals to help empower others to forge their way out of poverty.

Our organization has been created to work with vulnerable and at-risk youth in Latin America and the Carribean; provide food asistance to impoverished communities and create self-sustainable animal husbandry, agricutlure and technical projects which would provide a source of income and empower people to move forward. We work primarily through local churches and humanitarian organizations. We also provide GIK donations to more than 300 beneficiaries throughout latin america and the caribbean.

We Organize, supervise and provide logistics for humanitarian mission trips to Dominican Republic, Haiti, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Colombia, Panama, Venezuela, Belize, Bahamas, Uruguay, Peru, Paraguay, Brazil, Chile, Bolivia, Ecuador, Argentina, Uganda, Canada and United States.

Mission Statement

Friends of Hope International works with communities and partner non-profits across Central America and the Dominican Republic to teach people vital job skills, create employment opportunities, and improve their access to healthy food and safe drinking water.

Vision Statement

Our vision is to create a world without poverty by helping individuals and communities become self-sufficient.

Board of Directors

Carmen Fernandez:

Carmen Fernandez currently serves as the President and Treasurer of Friends of Hope International. Mrs. Fernandez manages an operational budget of $500k and directs all fundraising activities while partnering with the prominent religious and outreach organizations. Utilizing savvy negotiation skills and a proven sales background spanning over 30 years, Carmen has successfully approached various corporations such as Johnson and Johnson for monetary donations and essential products. Within her role at Friends of Hope, she travels to poverty-stricken countries such as Costa Rica, Panama, Venezuela, Belize and Ecuador to cultivate enduring relationships with in-country institutions like the Catholic Church to assist with their humanitarian efforts to provide housing and personal health supplies to communities in need. In her spare time, Carmen enjoys spending time with her grandchildren, traveling the world and furthering her education.

Liony Batista:

Liony Batista is a VP, speaker and author. He is currently the Vice President and Secretary of Friends of Hope International. He is part of an international network of organizations serving the poor in several countries, working with projects and in-kind assistance to orphanages and impoverished communities in Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Uganda. He has also collaborated with larger organizations such as Food for the Poor, Feed My Starving Children, Pelican Praying Missions, International Aid, and Cross International, among others. He is the author of The Journey: Daily Devotionals for Practical Living by Xulon Press, 2003. His latest book, Renewing the Vision was published July, 2014. His poems have appeared in numerous journals, including The Connecticut Poetry Review, Footprints, and Black Bear Review, among others.

Nidia Bustamante:

Nidia Bustamante is a Director on the Board of Directors of Friends of Hope International. As a Director of this Organization her role is to help the less fortunate Families in Spain, Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil and Peru by Securing the necessary funds to assist them with Food, Medicine, Clothing and Housing. Nidia was born in Colombia and comes from a very humble family, she is Charismatic, Loving and Sweet. She enjoys attending her local church and participating in the activities of her community. Her greatest passion is helping children and the elderly. In her free time she likes listening to music, dancing and meditation.

Daniel Fernandez:

Daniel Fernandez is a Director on the Board of Directors at Friends of Hope International. His role is to promote our current initiatives through the site’s blog and secure grant funding for our jobs skills and food service programs. Daniel previously served as an Outreach Specialist for SAGA/AmeriCorps in Alaska, instructing indigenous youth from the remote island of Little Diomede on the course material required to obtain a GED and collaborating with local sponsors on various environmental restoration projects. Daniel also worked as a Self-Contained Special Education and middle school Language Arts Teacher. Daniel enjoys writing and traveling in his spare time.

Gladys Tahira Vargas García:

Social Anthropologist and Music Educator

A researcher with over 24 years of experience, specialized in evaluations, systematizations, ethnographic and qualitative studies in themes like poverty-social marginalization, genre, social violence, youth culture, childhood, adolescence, masculinity, social movements, education, drugs micro traffic, youth gangs, sexuality and adolescence, migration and local development, citizen security, relationships in: Dominican Republic, Cuba, Mexico, Costa Rica, Switzerland and Equatorial Guinea.

Has published a total of 17 books and 36 articles in national and international magazines. Since 1998 she writes a weekly column on a national newspaper called HOY ( and on a electronic newspaper called Acento ( since 2011. Her last publications are Retrato Cualitativo de la Adolescencia en Villas Agrícolas (2014) published by the Fundación Abriendo Camino. The other, Perspectivas de la Educación Media, published in digital version by the National Bureau of Statistics of the Dominican Republic (April 2016).

From January 2016 to February 2017 she held a position as academic mentor of CO-PAZ Platform in Central-America and the Caribbean. From 2009 to 2011 she was part of the interdisciplinary team of the Office of Human Development of the United Nations Development Program as a researcher in the social-cultural and genre area in the elaboration of the Human Development Provincials Reports. For 4 years (1996-2000) she worked for the Dominican Republic’s Government as a socio-economical analyst in the Strategic Planning and Analysis Division, DIAPE, by it’s acronym in Spanish. There, she carried out 16 studies, daily probes about demands and conflicts in the relationship between population and government. Currently she dedicates her time to independent consultancy and directs her own consultancy firm named Equipo Vargas de Investigación Social, integrated by an interdisciplinary team that carries out social research, evaluations, and systematizations in the national and international ambit.

Daniel Sanchez:

Daniel Sanchez was born in Colombia and comes from a humble family. He is charismatic, funny and has always cared about the welfare of others. Daniel is a Director on the Board of Directors of Friends of Hope International. He works in Colombia, Uruguay, Paraguay, Chile and Mexico giving Food Services, Medicine, Housing and even the shirt off his back because giving is his passion. Daniel is also a web developer, designer, musician, composer and philanthropist. In his free time he enjoys playing guitar, singing, traveling and meeting new people.

Friends of Hope International, Inc.
P.O. Box #751
Simpsonville, SC 29681-9998

Contributions are tax-deductible under
Internal Revenue code Section 501(c)(3)
Tax ID: 27-2059981