October 21, 2004: Headlines: COS - Bolivia: Marriage: Service: NGO's: Burnsville Sun Current: Joan Velasquez and her husband, Segundo, met in Bolivia, when Joan was in the Peace Corps

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Bolivia: Peace Corps Bolivia : The Peace Corps in Bolivia: October 21, 2004: Headlines: COS - Bolivia: Marriage: Service: NGO's: Burnsville Sun Current: Joan Velasquez and her husband, Segundo, met in Bolivia, when Joan was in the Peace Corps

By Admin1 (admin) (pool-141-157-21-111.balt.east.verizon.net - 141.157.21.111) on Saturday, November 06, 2004 - 3:36 pm: Edit Post

Joan Velasquez and her husband, Segundo, met in Bolivia, when Joan was in the Peace Corps

Joan Velasquez and her husband, Segundo, met in Bolivia, when Joan was in the Peace Corps

Joan Velasquez and her husband, Segundo, met in Bolivia, when Joan was in the Peace Corps

Working hand in hand toward a healthier country

By Blair Reynolds
Sun Newspapers
(Created 10/21/2004 8:51:25 AM)

Mendota Heights and Bolivia are pretty much opposites when it comes to geography, climate and financial situation.

But, with the help of volunteers from Mendota Heights and other suburbs, the people of Bolivia are seeing a difference in how they a treated when medical issues arise.

Started 10 years ago, Mano a Mano (Spanish for hand to hand) has grown as a non-profit organization dedicated to provide the people of Bolivia with medical supplies and clinics.

“We started as a totally volunteer-based organization,” said co-founder Joan Velasquez. “We just hired our first full-time staff person in June. We have grown over the years and hopefully made a difference.”

Joan and her husband, Segundo, met in Bolivia, when Joan was in the Peace Corps.

“When my husband came to America he was amazed by the waste that we generate,” she said. “We decided to find a way to use the surplus supplies here in America and get them to those who could really use them in Bolivia.”

With the help of volunteers, the organization has increased its amount of supplies delivered from 500 pounds its first year to 200,000 last year.

“Our success is attributed totally to our volunteers, both here locally and in Bolivia,” said Velasquez. “We have grown as an organization over time thanks to the hard work of those who want to make a difference.”

In addition to medical supplies, Mano a Mano has become involved in the last few years to help construct clinics in areas of Bolivia where medical service is hard to come by.

Thanks to a $2 million donation, in 2000, from an anonymous donor the organization had the resources to construct and staff 30 clinics.

“We were very surprised to get our first grant,” said Velasquez. “It helped us to achieve some of our goals.”

Recently, the organization got word that the same donor has offered a $3.6 million grant to continue clinic-building projects.

“It’s a matching grant. We will need to raise funds to receive the entire donation,” said Velasquez. “We don’t know who the donor is, but we are very grateful for the support.”

Velasquez said the donation will help Mano a Mano build approximately 100 additional clinics in rural Bolivia, pay for improvements in basic services and fund other projects.

“Each of the clinics has about 50,000 visits per year,” she said. “We have already have had 2,000 babies born in our clinics. So far we have not experienced any babies or mothers dying. With an infant mortality rate of 10 percent in the country, that is a good sign.”

Velasquez said that each clinic has a doctor and nurse living on site to attend to the needs of residents.

“With the help of these donations, we are able to achieve our plans for improving the lives of the people of Bolivia,” she said. “We now need to work on raising our own funds to ensure we can continue with everything we have planned.”

Mano a Mano has conducted craft sales and solicited donations from local individuals in the past.

“People have been great in understanding our needs and helping us,” said Velasquez. “As a group we have the ability and the resources to serve the people of Bolivia in a great way and ensure that they are receiving the best health care we can provide.”





When this story was posted in November 2004, this was on the front page of PCOL:

Your vote makes a difference Your vote makes a difference
Make a difference on November 2 - Vote. Then take our RPCV exit poll. See how RPCV's are voting and take a look at the RPCV voter demographic. Finally leave a message on why you voted for John Kerry or for George Bush. Previous poll results here.
Kerry reaches out to Returned Volunteers Kerry reaches out to Returned Volunteers
The Kerry campaign wants the RPCV vote. Read our interview with Dave Magnani, Massachusetts State Senator and Founder of "RPCVs for Kerry," and his answers to our questions about Kerry's plan to triple the size of the Peace Corps, should the next PC Director be an RPCV, and Safety and Security issues. Then read the "RPCVs for Kerry" statement of support and statements by Dr. Robert Pastor, Ambassador Parker Borg, and Paul Oostburg Sanz made at the "RPCVs for Kerry" Press Conference.

RPCV Carl Pope says the key to winning this election is not swaying undecided voters, but persuading those already willing to vote for your candidate to actually go to the polls.

Take our poll and tell us what you are doing to support your candidate.

Finally read our wrap-up of the eight RPCVs in Senate and House races around the country and where the candidates are in their races.

Director Gaddi Vasquez:  The PCOL Interview Director Gaddi Vasquez: The PCOL Interview
PCOL sits down for an extended interview with Peace Corps Director Gaddi Vasquez. Read the entire interview from start to finish and we promise you will learn something about the Peace Corps you didn't know before.

Plus the debate continues over Safety and Security.
Schwarzenegger praises PC at Convention Schwarzenegger praises PC at Convention
Governor Schwarzenegger praised the Peace Corps at the Republican National Convention: "We're the America that sends out Peace Corps volunteers to teach village children." Schwarzenegger has previously acknowledged his debt to his father-in-law, Peace Corps Founding Director Sargent Shriver, for teaching him "the joy of public service" and Arnold is encouraging volunteerism by creating California Service Corps and tapping his wife, Maria Shriver, to lead it. Leave your comments and who can come up with the best Current Events Funny?
 Peace Corps: One of the Best Faces of America Peace Corps: One of the Best Faces of America
Teresa Heinz Kerry celebrates the Peace Corps Volunteer as one of the best faces America has ever projected in a speech to the Democratic Convention. The National Review disagreed and said that Heinz's celebration of the PCV was "truly offensive." What's your opinion and can you come up with a Political Funny?


Read the stories and leave your comments.






Some postings on Peace Corps Online are provided to the individual members of this group without permission of the copyright owner for the non-profit purposes of criticism, comment, education, scholarship, and research under the "Fair Use" provisions of U.S. Government copyright laws and they may not be distributed further without permission of the copyright owner. Peace Corps Online does not vouch for the accuracy of the content of the postings, which is the sole responsibility of the copyright holder.

Story Source: Burnsville Sun Current

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Bolivia; Marriage; Service; NGO's

PCOL14404
90

.


Add a Message


This is a public posting area. Enter your username and password if you have an account. Otherwise, enter your full name as your username and leave the password blank. Your e-mail address is optional.
Username:  
Password:
E-mail: