Michael and Zuze Bonderer
Michael and Zuze have been working with Homes from the Heart for over eight years, since the devastating earthquakes hit the region in 2001. Michael is a veteran of the United States Marine Corps and a former entrepreneur from Kansas City, Missouri. Besides being in the construction business for over 25 years, Michael owned various restaurants and an elevator maintenance company. In 2000, Michael was in need of redemption and so he ventured to Guatemala, with a truckload of tools and his dog Jake, where he began working with neglected children on the streets.
Soon after arriving in Central America, Michael met his wife Zuze, a native of Nicaragua, and her two daughters, Marlayna and Wanda. The family soon traveled to El Salvador, the most densely populated country in the Americas, to begin building houses in a new land. Together, they have learned how to accomplish the impossible. They have built over 350 houses around the country, including a 149-house community in an area of San Salvador plagued with violence and characterized by the separation of wealth.
They work together, each taking on whatever various roles necessary to maintain a thriving NGO and carry forth their mission. Amongst many things, Michael directs the construction efforts, fund raising, and collaboration with partnering organizations and individuals. Zuze acts as a translator, organizes labor and materials, keeps track of finances, works with families in the community, and interviews prospective beneficiaries.
HFTH is pleased to welcome Sam Stern the new Field Director for Haitian Operations.
Born the son of French and American parents, Sam is originally from Palm Harbor, Florida.
He graduated in 2006 from the University of Central Florida in Orlando with a BA in Comparative Politics and received his Masters in International Affairs from the New School in New York City in 2008.
While in New York he also volunteered in the fundraising department of the American Red Cross of Greater New York assisting them on numerous fundraisers for Haiti in the immediate aftermath of the earthquake
After graduate school he interned at the Huairou Commission in New York, a grassroots women’s organization where he worked on their HIV/AIDS.
In 2011 he worked for the British Red Cross in London first as an intern, then as a research consultant working on a quantitative analysis of British Red Cross response and recovery operations during the past 5 years. Finally as a Humanitarian Policy and International Finance Team Coordinator he oversaw the administration and budgeting of two of the British Red Cross’s International Division teams.