Sustainable Project in Guatemala - at the Dump
No, your eyes didn’t deceive you. “Dump” is exactly what we mean. Here’s the background. The Guatemala Pediatric Foundation is our longtime partner in our team’s work there. In 2003 the Foundation established CEDEIN, whose name is a Spanish acronym for “Center for Holistic Care.” CEDEIN provides gynecologic, pediatric, general medical and dental care and also has a meal program for children. In addition, with the guidance of its medical director, Dr. Martha Julia Velasquez, its staff organizes and leads medical trips to a number of small, poor communities in other Guatemalan provinces.
But still… why a dump? The answer is that CEDEIN recognized the desperate needs of children and families living in neighborhoods adjacent to the Guatemala City landfill - many of whom survive by scavenging at the dump for things that can be sold - and established a free clinic there.
When they looked for assistance, our pediatric team out of Indiana University, which has been working in Guatemala for years, stepped up and became involved in CEDEIN’s work there. The relationship was strengthened by team leader Dr. Martin Kaefer’s sister, Dr. Maria Kaefer, who travels with the team to provide nonsurgical medical care to its patients. She visited the CEDEIN camp at the dump and was appalled at conditions there (which is just how the team’s involvement had begun). She inspired the team’s non-medical donations, including gifts of clothes, lots of shoes, and funds; and this year, money to repair the dump clinic’s cold storage, so that its meal program can continue to grow. Dr. Maria’s involvement also involves her clinic in Minneapolis, which donates materials it no longer needs or cannot use, but which will be very valuable at the dump clinic.
At the dump, the only requirement for children to receive medical treatment and meals is that they do their homework after school. One hundred and fifty kids are meeting that requirement right now, and their lives are being changed, one day at a time.
Our most sincere thanks go to our so-very-generous Indiana University medical volunteers and all who support our efforts in Guatemala. In the words of the CEDEIN staff, “We were filled with happiness to know that you have supported us in fixing our cold storage. There are still human beings like the urology mission team whose heart is so great that it helps us with necessary causes, as in this case one that will benefit our children who live at the city landfill. Please know our great gratitude, we cannot pay you but may God continue to reward you in your noble profession.”
Read More in the 2014 Annual Report
This is just one of the many stories of sustainable international development featured in our 2014 Annual Report, where you’ll find stories from all of our chapters as well as updates and information about our organization, our programs, and the impacts and progress we have made.
Please take some time to look over our 2014 Annual Report and share it with your friends and colleagues.