News & Views

Fredy’s Story

You’ve seen Fredy’s story in pictures, now you can learn more:

Fredy was born in a small village in Honduras. He never knew his parents, who left him with his grandmother soon after his birth. When he was nine, his grandmother died and life got much harder.  A series of cousins let Fredy live in their houses, but then he moved to a city so he would have access to a high school. From the time he was 13, he was alone in the city without a steady source of income, living and eating where he could.  Finally it all became too much. At 17, Fredy decided to make the dangerous journey to the US.

Fredy traveled north from Honduras for 16 days.  Sometimes the smugglers made Fredy and the others walk through the forest, hiding from the authorities and sleeping in abandoned houses.  Often the travelers went without food or any chance to wash themselves. It was awful, but Fredy never considered turning back.  He saw no future in Honduras.

Fredy crossed into the US in a group of over 50 immigrants. Together they waited for the border patrol so they could request asylum. At first, things weren’t any better than they had been during their travels. The US immigration officials treated them like criminals.  “We told them we are not criminals,” says Fredy.  “We are coming here because we want the opportunity to live.” The officials moved the children several times, once keeping them crowded together in a freezing cold room with no windows for three days.  But after a week, two social workers accompanied Fredy to His House Children’s Village, a nonprofit organization that “felt like heaven.”

Fredy poses with his HIAS Pennsylvania attorney, Rachel Rutter, at his high school graduation.

Finally, Fredy made it to Philadelphia, the end point of his journey. A school counselor connected him to HIAS PA, where a staff lawyer helped him make a successful case for asylum. Other staff connected Fredy to social support services. Best of all, through new friends, Fredy met a family who invited him to live with them as one of their own.


In fall 2019, Fredy will start a new journey as a student at Philadelphia Community College. He wants to study archeology and continue learning languages, for which he as an uncommon gift.  He has also started an organization, Helping for a Dream, to benefit impoverished children in Honduras, and he would like “to serve as a voice for Latinos and all immigrants.” Whether in Honduras or the US, he thinks, he would like other people to feel a little less alone than he did.