Bolivia- South America
Esperança has been working in Southern Bolivia with our partner Esperanza Bolivia since 1982 in order to improve the quality of life of needy families, with programs in health, education, environment and integral development since the organization’s inception.
The foremost public health concern in Bolivia is Chagas disease, caused by the T. cruzi parasite, and transmitted primarily through a bug known as the vinchuga bug. Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO) estimates that Bolivia is the most infected country with 1.1 to 1.8 million Bolivians currently infected. This parasitic sickness is the leading cause of cardiovascular disease in South America and causes irreversible heart, esophagus, and colon damage.
The best way to prevent the Chagas disease is to eliminate the vinchuga bug that passes on the deadly parasite. Esperança educates the community about the disease through trained community health workers, and improves housing and sanitary conditions. At each project site, families learn how to refurbish their homes to protect their families from Chagas. The vinchuga bug lives in thatch roofing and cracks in walls and floors. Esperança provides the supplies and the education to replace thatch roofing with tiles, plaster the walls, and pour a concrete floor. With these simple changes, we can protect an entire family from long-term effects and eventual death caused by Chagas.
In addition to our fight against Chagas Disease, Esperança also offers the following:
- Provides life-changing surgeries through our volunteer surgical program
- Trains hundreds of community health workers on important health issues affecting their villages
- Helps families learn agricultural practices that will improve their nutrition and help make an income
- Educates parents and teenagers on communication skills, vocational opportunities, and healthy living skills
These initiatives improve the quality of life for thousands of families every year!
Esperança has been working in Mozambique since 2003 in province of Sofala. This area is considered the poorest city in the country. The project’s goal, along with our partner Care for Life, is to alleviate suffering, promote self-reliance and instill hope.
In this southeastern country of Africa, Mozambican families are learning to prevent three deadly diseases: HIV/AIDS, cholera and malaria. We work in ten villages, providing hope for a healthier future by distributing basic tools (such as mosquito nets), education – empowering residents to take their future into their own hands and live a healthier life, and teaching families how to prevent HIV/AIDS and properly care for their HIV/AIDS infected relatives.
Mozambique has been ranked the sixth poorest country in the world by the World Bank. In this area of the world, HIV/AIDS, cholera and malaria have decreased the average life span to just 48 years. Approximately 1 out of 4 people living in Sofala have HIV/AIDS. To complicate this situation, Beira is at sea level and much of the surrounding terrain is swampy, a prime location for the breeding of malaria-carrying mosquitoes. Also, due to the lack of infrastructure, sewage systems have not functioned properly for decades. During the rainy season, the sewage systems frequently contaminate available clean water sources, making cholera rampant.
In conjunction with Care for Life, our public health programs in Mozambique include:
- Educating families on ways to protect themselves from mosquitoes and the use of mosquito nets
- Conveying the importance of why boiling and treating their water is critical to their health, as well as disinfecting it with chlorine
- Ways to care for their dying loved ones infected with HIV/AIDS, rather than succumbing to cultural stigmas
Nicaragua- Central America
Esperança’s has been working in Nicaragua along with our partner Association of Volunteers for Community Development (AVODEC) since 2001 in the northern Department of Jinotega. In this Central American nation, an area ravaged by civil war some 20 years ago, we work to improve the health of Nicaraguan families through various public health programs including: water filters, community gardens, improved housing, latrines, wells, dental midwife training, micro-loans and health education.
Esperança’s work is accomplished through a community network made up of hundreds of volunteers. Volunteers from surrounding villages provide health education and training to their own communities. Members of the volunteer network identify participating families in need of improved housing, latrines, or dental services, and then the network collectively works together to make these changes.
Nicaragua is one of the poorest countries in Latin America. Jinotega, being a mountainous region, is isolated from resources. The land is lush and tropical and farmers have grown crops for years in the fertile fields. However, with a limited infrastructure, increasing populations and stagnant land available, families struggle to provide for their family’s nutrition and health care needs. Some 46% of these children suffer from malnutrition which accounts for 54% of all deaths of children under the age of 5. Agriculture, the most common form of employment in Jinotega, is the lowest paying causing families to live in extreme poverty. And with development, the water sources in the region have also become increasingly polluted with silt, sewage and bacteria.
Esperança’s programs significantly improve the quality of life for families living in this rural area by:
- Training midwives, who deliver an average of two babies per week, and help decrease the high levels of maternal mortality in the most remote communities
- Providing a clean water source, through wells and water systems which prevent deadly water-born diseases.
- Teaching small farmers about improved agricultural practices and providing families with seeds and small livestock that will help improve their nutrition and generate a higher income
- Providing basic dental services to adults and children that would not be affordable otherwise
Esperança has been working in the west central Phoenix area since the domestic project’s inception in 1999. Esperança partners with local agencies to provide underserved families with resources, health services, and preventative education. Our focus areas include oral health, nutrition and physical activity education, and helping families access medical services to avoid costly emergency room visits.
Esperança works in communities and neighborhoods that have a high health risk due to the over-representation of many illnesses like diabetes and obesity, and limited access to health resources. The majority of families that live in the community are low-income and uninsured. Accessing health care information and resources is difficult for families due to barriers such as language, transportation, literacy levels, and cost. Preventative dental care is considered a luxury, and due to financial hardship, many family members are forced to share toothbrushes and forego annual cleanings and x-rays. Oral health care is critical to a person’s overall well-being. Many hours of education and employment are missed due to this community’s poor oral health status. Families have limited resources to accessing information regarding nutrition and exercise, and their surrounding neighborhood and environment do not provide healthy options or safe places to be physically active.