New School Underway in Guitarrani, Bolivia
A new school project in the community of Guitarrani, Bolivia is about 35% complete!
The project will include 3 classrooms, a teacher housing unit, and bathrooms. The new school will be a much more comfortable learning environment for the students, and a more comfortable working environment for the teachers.
Guitarrani is a community of about 780 people in the municipality of Icla, province of Zudanez, department of Chuquisaca, Bolivia – about a 9-hour drive from the city of Cochabamba.
Why Are These Projects Important?
Access to education in rural Bolivia is a huge challenge; Bolivian adults (25-65) in urban areas have on average 9.98 years of schooling, whereas Bolivian adults in rural areas have on average 4.85 years of schooling, one of the biggest gaps in Latin America. Education can have a big impact; each additional year of schooling can increase income by up to 10%, and a child born to a mother who can read is 50% more likely to survive past age 5. The first step in improving education for kids in rural areas is to decrease the distance to get to a school, improve school infrastructure & the learning environment, and have motivated teachers that are consistently available.
Pictures from the Construction – April 2017
Working Together to Make These Projects Possible
Every project that Mano a Mano does, including this school in Guitarrani, depends on many people working together (read more about our partnership model here). The Guitarrani School project is a collaboration with:
- our counterpart organization Mano a Mano Bolivia
- the community of Guitarrani
- the Alcaldia of Icla
- funding from donors in the US, with many Rotary Clubs supporting this school project in Guitarrani:
- Rotary Club of Thunder Bay (Fort William)
- Fort William Satellite Club
- Rotary Club of Thunder Bay (Port Arthur)
- Lakehead Rotary Club
- International Falls Rotary Club
- Duluth Harbortown Rotary Club
- Cochabamba Concordia Rotary Club
Thanks to everyone that is involved in this project!
Thanks St. Kate’s Volunteers!
The Medical Surplus Program is What Started Mano a Mano 20+ Years Ago
Mano a Mano was started more than 20 years ago with the simple goal of saving surplus medical supplies from Minnesota landfills and sending them to Bolivia, where we knew that they were needed and could be put to good use. This program continues to be extremely important to support Mano a Mano’s projects, and to help people & organizations throughout Bolivia. We collect and ship more than 100,000 pounds of supplies from Minnesota to Bolivia each year:
Putting Mano a Mano Supplies to Use in Bolivia: Rodrigo’s Broken Arm
Recently, Dr. Lorenzo Parada shared the story of Rodrigo Suarez Nogales at his Inmaculada Concepcion Health Center in Baures (in the video above, Dr. Parada is interviewed beginning at the 1:37 mark). Baures is located in the Itenez de Beni province, department of Beni, about 200 kilometers from Trinidad – 10 hours by road or 1 hour by plane.
Rodrigo is 7 years old, and had suffered broken bones in his forearm when he was leaving a dance. Dr. Parada treated the fracture at his office with a splint, bandaged it, and put his arm in a sling. Rodrigo and his mom returned home, relieved. She was happy, despite the fracture, because in this difficult time there were proper supplies available.
Without the supplies from Mano a Mano, more than likely they would have put a board or a stick on Rodrigo’s arm, wrapped it with a rag, and sent him home. In locations like Baures, an X-Ray isn’t even dreamed about.
Getting these supplies from the donor in the United States to the people that need them in Bolivia, like Rodrigo, is a long process. We are grateful to everyone that makes this process work: from the volunteers in Minnesota that sort & pack supplies, to the donors that help pay for the shipments, to the Mano a Mano staff & volunteers, to the doctors like Dr. Parada that put these supplies to use.
Thanks Mano a Mano Volunteers – April 2017
With a small staff, Mano a Mano depends on volunteers in everything that we do. Just over the past week, here are a few of the groups that have helped out:
- The Unity Church Community Outreach Mano a Mano Team held their monthly meeting at the Mano a Mano office on April 12, 2017
- HERO (Healthcare Equipment Recycling Organization) drove from Fargo to St. Paul to drop off medical supplies and equipment for Mano a Mano on April 12, 2017
- Boy Scouts Troop 91 sorted medical supplies at the Mano a Mano warehouse on April 11, 2017
- Professor Arjun Guneratne brought his students from Macalester College to sort medical supplies at the Mano a Mano warehouse on April 7, 2017
- Metro State’s Social Work Student Association hosted a book reading on April 11, 2017 with Mano a Mano co-founder Segundo Velasquez and La Familia: An International Love Story author Dr. Mary Martin
- Mano a Mano’s volunteer event planning committee met on April 11, 2017 to continue working on our upcoming event (Save the Date! Sunday, July 23rd will be our 8th annual event, and first ever to be held at Mano a Mano)
- Travelers that participated in our recent Beyond Sustainability trip to Bolivia in March are coming back to Minnesota excited to start working on some possibilities to help support Mano a Mano
- St. Thomas business students are helping out in the Mano a Mano office on a number of tasks as part of their learning through service course they are taking this semester
- Medical Educators for Latin America just wrapped up their 10th acute care course with our counterpart organization Mano a Mano Bolivia. A MELA team of 20 volunteers made the trip to Cochabamba for the tenth course on acute care given with our co-sponsor, Mano a Mano Bolivia, March 28-30. There were approximately 300 Bolivian doctors, nurses, and dentists attending the course.
These are just a few of the groups that have volunteered this week; there have been dozens of people that have also supported Mano a Mano with their time and skill as well. From Ray and Karen keeping the office and warehouse running smoothly, to Larry seeking out cheap laptops for Mano a Mano staff and volunteers, we are extremely grateful for everyone that keeps Mano a Mano going.
Pictures From the Minnesota Office This Week – April 2017
MELA and Mano a Mano Bolivia Conclude 10th International Course on Acute Care
Medical Educators for Latin America (MELA) and our counterpart organization Mano a Mano Bolivia just wrapped up their 10th international course on acute care for medical professionals in Bolivia in March.
From MELA’s Newsletter:
“A MELA team of 20 volunteers made the trip to Cochabamba for the tenth course on acute care given with our co-sponsor, Mano a Mano Bolivia, March 28-30. There were approximately 300 Bolivian doctors, nurses, and dentists attending the course. For me, it was a fantastic experience! In addition, some of our team were able to join a Jornada de Salud (Mobile Clinic) in the community of Tables Monte and see patients in rural Bolivia. Other team members were able to visit a clinic constructed with MELA support, and and learn about the challenges of providing care in a resource poor country.
It was not all work. There was still time for many of our team members to visit some of the landmarks and interesting sights of Bolivia, like the Salar (salt flats), Toro Toro, Tarija – the wine country, and other spots with historical and cultural interests.
Many thanks to this awesome group and Mano a Mano Bolivia for their participation and hard work to make this another successful trip!
We are all looking forward to the next course in 2018!”
Learn More About MELA
Also, here are a few links to previous courses and MELA programs with Mano a Mano in Bolivia:
- Pictures from MELA Trauma Conference in 2015
- New Clinic in Quiroga, Bolivia – built with MELA support – Dedicated in July 2015
- Pictures from a variety of MELA conferences over the years
- Information from the 6th International Conference in 2013