Your donation joins the efforts of Bolivian communities, their municipal governments, and Mano a Mano, working together to make a difference.
How We Began
With where we are now, it’s easy to forget that Mano a Mano was started in 1994 with the goal of saving medical supplies in the US that were destined for the landfill, and sending them to Bolivia where co-founders Joan and Segundo Velasquez knew they could save lives. For the first 10 years, there was no paid staff in the US, only Joan and Segundo and a dedicated group of volunteers, many of whom were friends and family, sorting supplies in the Velasquez’ basement and storing them under tents in the backyard. Mano a Mano has shipped more than 3.5 million pounds of supplies since 1994.
Why Sending Supplies is So Important
Ensuring that our network of clinics is well-supplied is extremely important. Part of our agreement with each community in which a clinic is built is to ensure that there are adequate supplies and equipment; without these supplies it’s impossible to provide adequate patient care.
As one example, in one of our busier clinics another organization decided to fund construction of a second story to accommodate more people. On a recent visit, the first floor of the clinic (which was built by Mano a Mano, and was fully equipped) was bustling; there were dozens of community members waiting to be seen. On the second floor there was nothing but empty rooms. All that was funded was the construction; there was no money for equipment or supplies.
Although the cost of shipping is high, it is well worth it to send supplies. The contents of each container are worth at least $200,000-$500,000. Many of these supplies are of higher quality than what is available locally in Bolivia, and in many cases the supplies can’t even be purchased in-country. In addition, being able to equip our clinics with donated items allows us to stretch our limited budget and save money that can be used elsewhere.
Everything we send is put to use and stretched as far as possible; our staff cut squares of gauze into quarters, unsterile supplies are used for training in their continuing education workshops, pieces of fabric are sewn together to make sheets and curtains.
We also send school supplies, which are in desperate need. In many communities, each student has one notebook; when they fill it up they go back to the beginning and erase the pages to be able to reuse the notebook over and over. The donation of a single pencil to each child in a classroom can be an extremely exciting gift for children with very little.
In addition to school and medical supplies, we also ship construction supplies, office furniture and supplies, and many other items that help support Mano a Mano’s varied programs throughout Bolivia.
How Your Donation Helps
Your support allows us to save supplies from the garbage in the US and send them to Bolivia where they can be put to use. These items are distributed to our network of projects, as well as other nonprofit organizations throughout Bolivia that make a request. Your donation allows us to send these much-needed supplies to our clinics, schools, and other infrastructure projects to provide quality healthcare and services that saves lives.
Every item that we are able to ship means one less thing that we have to buy, and allows us to stretch our funding to be able to complete more projects and improve more lives, while also ensuring that each current project is adequately maintained and equipped. It also saves thousands of pounds of supplies that would have ended up in US landfills.
Your donation helps reduce waste in the US and improve thousands of lives in Bolivia.
Improving Access to Health Care
Mano a Mano Bolivia, in collaboration with Mano a Mano International Partners, works together with Bolivian communities, their municipal government leaders, and the Bolivian Health Ministry to build community clinics throughout Bolivia (you can read about our partnership model here). Every clinic we build is fully equipped, fully staffed, and fully supported to ensure that each clinic is completely functional and can provide high-quality health care for years to come. You can learn more about the clinic projects we have completed on our Project Map and Results Page.
Improving Education & Sanitation
Using the same partnership model as our clinic program, Mano a Mano Bolivia builds classrooms and community bathrooms to improve access to education and better sanitation. The majority of these school and sanitation projects are built in communities in which we have previously built a clinic, both because we have an established working relationship with the community and know that they will follow through, as well as education and sanitation projects complementing clinic projects in our effort to improve lives in an integrated approach.
Donate to Improve Health & Education
Our clinic and school projects have been very successful; they are relatively low-cost, have proven to be able to retain medical professionals and teachers in extremely isolated locations, include training & education programs for staff, and demonstrate how many groups working together can achieve a common goal. But there is a long ways to go – we have 148 active requests from communities for clinics alone.
These projects are only made possible by YOUR SUPPORT – your donation is the seed money that allows Mano a Mano to mobilize all of these different groups and multiply your donation many times over. You can help make a health or education project a reality for a community in Bolivia by making a donation.
In rural Bolivia, many communities are essentially cut off from the rest of the country by their rugged terrain and lack of roads. Travel time from their community to reach even the most basic services can take days or longer. Mano a Mano Nuevo Mundo works with these communities to build safe roads that can cut travel time from days to hours. For an example of the difference a road can make, check out our El Palmar road project.
Building a road in El Palmar, Bolivia – a roughly 60-kilometer road that has been one of our most challenging projects (a flash flood wiped out some of the completed road and the terrain and weather here is especially difficult for our staff). The road will be finished in 2014.
Improving Water Access
Many communities living in the high Andes Mountains could produce much more abundant crops of corn, potatoes, and fresh vegetables. Sadly, lack of means to retain rain water and snow melt during the rainy season for use during the lengthy dry season results in stunted crop growth and, during especially dry years, near total crop failure and insufficient water to sustain livestock. Farmers plant few, if any, vegetable crops during the dry season because they must carry water to them from distant water sources. Together, these problematic circumstances result in failure to meet the nutritional and economic needs of the local population.
Mano a Mano Nuevo Mundo partners with these communities to construct large-scale water reservoirs that collect rain water and snow melt and make water available to farmers almost year-round. For a closer look at some of our major water projects, click here.
Video Overview of Aviation Program
Mano a Mano Pilot Ivo Martinez discusses the Aviation Program and why this program is so important in Bolivia.