Congratulations to Mano a Mano Co-Founders Joan and Segundo Velasquez for being on the 2022 50 Over 50 list! Check out the full 50 Over 50 list on Pollen Midwest here.

“The 2022 50 Over 50 list celebrates and recognizes Minnesotans over the age of 50 who have made significant contributions and achievements in their communities.”

Joan and Segundo Velasquez – Sustainable Suppliers

It started with a visit home to Bolivia. In 1994, Segundo Velasquez got a request from his brother, a pediatrician in their home country of Bolivia. Could Segundo get his hands on discarded medical supplies in Minnesota and bring them with him on his next trip home? Segundo could and he did. What happened next is, well, astonishing. Seeing a way to build on this simple idea, Segundo, 71, and Joan, 80, who brought her extensive background in social service policy and practice to bear, founded Mano a Mano International Partners. Since 1994, the non-profit has developed partnerships with local community leaders to identify health and educational needs throughout Bolivia. As a result, the organization has shipped more 4,000,000 pounds of supplies, built 177 community health clinics that serve 1 million patients each year. They have constructed 67 schools, carved 1,200 miles of arterial roads on mountain terrain, and drilled deep wells and built reservoirs that make water available to more than 85,000 people. In addition to their clinics and schools, they created an air rescue service that’s airlifted 4,449 sick and injured people from isolated communities, bringing them to lifesaving care in urban hospitals. They created a Center for Ecological Agriculture where rural Bolivian farmers, community leaders, and students can learn about sustainable land and water use. Most importantly, each of these projects is still in operation, owned, staffed, and maintained by the Bolivian people.

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