Our Story, and How You Can Help

Check out our most recent slideshow on Slideshare that provides an overview of Mano a Mano. Learn more about Mano a Mano – why we started, our programs, why we work in rural Bolivia, how we work (which is very important for us) – and learn how you can be a part and make a difference.

Our Story – A Call to Action

In October of 1994, Segundo and Joan Velasquez sounded a call to action to a small group of family and friends because they wanted to do something about a glaring incongruity. Each year, health care providers and suppliers in Minnesota dispose of hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of usable, but no longer needed, medical inventory. At the same time, health care providers in Bolivia, where Segundo was born and where Joan had served in the Peace Corps, are unable to provide essential care to the poor because they lack the most basic supplies and equipment.

Thus was born Mano a Mano (“hand to hand”), a nonprofit organization founded on the simple premise that committed volunteers can reach across national boundaries to make a dramatic difference in the lives of others. Today, what began with Joan and Segundo’s friends and family has grown to a large network of volunteers and staff members in both the US and Bolivia, which works “hand to hand” in countless ways to improve the health and economic well-being of some of the world’s most impoverished communities. Mano a Mano’s remarkable journey affirms renowned anthropologist Margaret Mead’s observation: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”