Our History & Mission

Horizons of Friendship empowers people and strengthens
communities to eliminate poverty and injustice across Central America & Mexico.

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It takes strength to fight against poverty and injustice in Central America and Mexico. Over the years, our team has built a strong coalition of organizations who are committed to tackling poverty and injustice in the region.

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We work directly with our partners to implement projects that create positive change. Through partnerships, we are able to have a local impact without requiring the presence of Horizons’ offices in the South.

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For over 43 years, we’ve been committed to eliminating poverty and injustice in Central America and Mexico. With your support and that of our partners, we remain dedicated and focused to continuing this fight.

Our History 

In 1973, Father Tim Coughlan, and David and Christine Stewart founded the Help Honduras Foundation, an NGO focused on child sponsorship. After the devastating Hurricane Fifi hit Honduras in 1974, the organization quickly refocused its efforts on community reconstruction.

Bearing witness to war and extreme poverty in the early 1980s, the Help Honduras Foundation was renamed “Horizons of Friendship” with the mission of community development and expanding its reach to all of Central America & Mexico.

By 1990, Horizons had successfully completed over 367 community-based development projects focused on partner development, capacity-building, and knowledge-sharing with civil society organizations in the region.

In the 2000s, Horizons strongly focused on projects related to HIV/AIDS and violence against women. This focus led to a major victory in Nicaragua, where as a result of our work, a comprehensive law on violence against women was successfully passed. By 2010, Horizons had completed over 1,330 projects in Central America & Mexico.

...Fast forward to today – Horizons and its partners continue to lead transformative community development projects in the region. Horizons continues to be the only Canadian charity whose mission is exclusively focused in Central America & Mexico.

Horizons of Friendship: 40 Years of Social Progress

This timeline charts the evolution of Horizons of Friendship. Progressing from a group of community volunteers in rural Ontario to a lean, highly effective organization, our journey has made us stronger than ever. ↓

  • Horizons becomes a registered NGO – previously known as the Help Honduras Foundation. Focus on child sponsorship.
  • Hurricane Fifi hits Honduras. Horizons funds community reconstruction.
  • Bearing witness to war and poverty, Horizons shifts its focus to community development.
  • First regional consultations with southern partners. Programs are created to help refugees from Guatemala return to their homeland.
  • Communities welcome Horizons of Friendship Educational Tours for Canadians to travel to the South.
  • Emphasis on partnership and capacity-building, along with results-based management.
  • Horizons moves to 50 Covert St. office location in Cobourg, Ontario, built with the help of community volunteers.
  • Horizons launches regional learning network in Guatemala.
  • Regional projects on HIV/AIDS and violence against women are launched.
  • Launching of projects on intercultural bilingual education to promote indigenous people's rights. The following year, projects on Food Security and Ancestral Medicine are launched.
  • The “Strengthening Civil Society in Mesoamerica Through Learning and Action” program is launched.
  • "March for My Rights" youth citizenship campaign is launched in Nicaragua.
  • "The Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health: Transforming Indigenous Lives (MNCH)" is launched – Horizons’ largest project to date.