Our Recipe for a Thriving Community has demonstrated results all the way from the outlying river valleys where we work to the city of Cumana.
From 1997 through 2019, we have delivered 144,270+ Couple Years of Protection (CYPs), the metric by which USAID measures family planning achievement.
- We did this by directly serving more than 55,000 rural women and their families, an estimated (at least) 200,000 beneficiaries.
- We also delivered over 3000 Information Workshops on Sexual and Reproductive Health to over 57,000 students, teenagers, and public service and education personnel.
- We have done all of this on an average family planning budget of less than $65,000 a year, at an average cost of less than $11 per CYP over the last 10 years.
- The enormous unsatisfied demand for family planning and reproductive health services in our area still far exceeds our current funding and capacity to provide, but we are ready and eager to expand our services with your support!
- We fund 50+ scholarships a year encouraging remote rural students to finish high school.
- More than 500 rural students have attended high school, where previously, they would have abandoned their education at or before the sixth grade.
- More than 100 have graduated from high school and at any given time, some 15 selected low-income graduates are attending local colleges with our support.
- Our Rural Education Center, several walking hours into the river valley, offers computers, library facilities and tutoring for valley primary, high school and college students.
- Several outlets for subsidized school supplies – for preschool, primary and high school students – are run by students and their mothers out of local rural homes.
- Popular access to computers and Internet is available for low-income students and community activists at our urban cyber center.
- Over the years, we have helped to construct and maintain a rural kindergarten, a rural child care center, several rural school libraries, and a rural school cafeteria to accommodate the government’s school lunch program.
- We help with baseball, soccer and other sports activities to help students stay creatively engaged when not in school!
Over the years, projects in the remote off-the-grid river valley where we live and work include:
- Installation and maintenance of gravity-piped potable water for 120+ valley families.
- Installation of solar energy electricity for 25+ valley casas, the local church and the school complex.
- Periodic vaccination campaigns against paralytic rabies and encephalitis for hundreds of burros, mules, and other domestic animals.
- Distribution of Durian, Mangosteen, Jackfruit, Rollinia, Carambola and other little-known tropical fruit cultivars to farmers and Venezuelan agriculture institutions. Some of our originally distributed seedlings are now producing fruit and seed themselves, as the distribution process multiplies on its own.
- Our Community Center, located where the valley meets the road, serves as a base for school and community meetings, for government subsidized food distribution, to store agricultural products in transit to the Cumaná market, to store building supplies and school equipment brought from town for Brito valley projects, and as a care station for the community’s pack animals.
Some doctors and partners have called us the “Doctors Without Borders” within the state of Sucre!
- The ongoing socio-economic crisis in Venezuela has resulted in a marked deterioration in public health care.
- Low-income Venezuelans have decreasing access to even the most basic medical services, food supplies, medicines, and many other staples we take for granted.
- We have expanded our surgery program to include a wider range of ambulatory procedures for lower middle and working class families who can no longer count on public health services.
- In 2019, we performed 1246 tubal sterilizations (our most frequently-requested procedure) and 152 hernia repairs, biopsies, laparoscopic diagnoses, orthopedic, obstetric, pediatric, and oncological interventions for patients in need.
- We also assist with CAT scans, and ENT, ophthalmological, pediatric and other consultations, when these services fail to respond in the public sector.
- We offer small grants of emergency aid to help families surmount immediate and personal crises. Amounts as small as $20 to $50 can make all the difference. About 40% of these funds are eventually paid back into our cash fund and recycled to help others.
Big impact in just one generation!
- Very few unplanned children anymore.
- Infant and maternal mortality now rarely occur.
- More rural students, especially girls, continue from primary to high school – and graduate!
- More of these rural students are attending university.
- Computers and Internet are available for the first time.
- Clean gravity-piped water and solar electricity have reached many off-the-grid families.
- The unusual fruit trees that we have introduced, like Durian, Mangosteen, and Jackfruit, are finding homes and commercial interest not only locally, but in other parts of the country.
- The community collaborates more in projects to improve their lives..
Nature is benefitting, too …
As the local population has stabilized, the impact on river valleys in the region is noticeable. Upper valleys are returning to lush tropical woods, wildlife is prospering, birds are more abundant, and the streams are running cleaner. As the younger generations bring less mouths to feed, the devastating effect of repeated slash-and-burn agriculture on the tropical forest is reduced, and the extensive secondary growth is finally returning. After some 400 years of non-stop, intensive exploitation and diminishing returns, there is now less erosion and more reforestation. A long natural healing process has begun!