In the US, millions of pounds of usable supplies – from medical items like gowns and gloves, to other items like school supplies and mobility equipment – are thrown away every year. Meanwhile, Bolivia is the poorest country in South America (especially in rural communities), and the most basic supplies can make a huge difference in improving someone’s life. Since 1994, Mano a Mano has collected donated supplies in Minnesota and shipped them to Bolivia, where they are distributed to Mano a Mano’s network of 183+ health clinics and other infrastructure projects throughout the country. A large portion of these supplies are also distributed to other nonprofit/governmental organizations and individuals in need.
Mano a Mano builds new clinic, school, road, and water projects in rural Bolivia every year, and we are committed to having every project be sustainable, with staffing, training, adequate equipment & supplies, and ongoing maintenance in place.
Your donation helps Mano a Mano ship donated supplies from the US and distribute them in Bolivia, which:
Mano a Mano's mission is “Partnering together – Hand in Hand – to transform the health and well-being of Bolivian communities in need.” Our projects focus on basic needs that improve many different components affecting a communities' quality of life. Every project we do is done in collaboration with the community; they approach Mano a Mano requesting projects they identify as priority needs, they are expected to contribute funding and volunteer labor, and they are responsible for co-administration of the project upon its completion. In this way we ensure that there is local support and that the project will last over the long-term. We have built more than 300 projects throughout Bolivia over the past decade, and each of these projects is still in operation today.
The surplus program in Minnesota was what started Mano a Mano in 1994; Mano a Mano's co-founder, Segundo Velasquez, was born in Bolivia and grew up there before moving to Minnesota as an adult. His brother Jose, a pediatrician working in Bolivia, would ask Segundo to bring medical supplies back home whenever he traveled back to visit family. Over the years the amounts grew from a few items in a suitcase to 32 boxes! In 1994 Segundo and his wife and Mano a Mano co-founder Joan Velasquez (a former Peace Corps volunteer in Bolivia) came together with friends & family to collect enough surplus medical supplies and equipment to equip the hospital in Bolivia that Jose managed.
From our humble beginnings collecting surplus medical supplies with a volunteer staff of Joan and Segundo's friends and family in the US & Bolivia, we have now grown into constructing large-scale infrastructure projects throughout Bolivia, while continuing to ensure that each project is well-equipped and maintained, and that training and education are provided for as well.
It takes a community and you are a huge part of that community. Your financial support is critical in making these projects that communities have dreamed about for years become a reality. Every pencil or notebook donated to a child in school, every wheelchair or pair of crutches given to a Bolivian with physical limitations, can make a tremendous impact. Shipping and distributing donated supplies allows Mano a Mano to equip our projects that benefit hundreds of thousands of Bolivians each year, help out other groups in Bolivia working with those in need, support nonprofits and individuals in the Twin Cities community, and reduce waste in the US.
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