Twice a year, Esperança sends shipment containers filled with donated medical supplies and equipment to its trusted partner in Nicaragua, where they will be used by surgical volunteers and distributed to local hospitals in need in the region. Due to COVID-19 and to comply with social distancing to keep everyone safe, Shipment Day looked a little different this year compared to years prior. In a closed event with 16 staff members and interns, Esperança’s dedicated team loaded a 40-foot shipping container, in under four hours, with supplies that included wheelchairs, x-ray machines, syringes, catheters and more.
These supplies were donated from individuals, hospitals and clinics from across the United States – Alaska to Florida and everywhere in between. In about five weeks, Esperança’s Nicaraguan partner, AVODEC will receive the container filled with $1.2 million in donated medical supplies.
Derived from the Portuguese word for “hope,” Esperança has been dedicated to transforming lives since its inception in 1970. The Arizona-based nonprofit began its mission abroad, serving the most under-resourced and poverty stricken communities throughout the Central Amazon Region. While providing health education and volunteer medical care, including surgical procedures, Esperança quickly became known as a symbol of hope to those that have learned to live hopelessly.
Today, Esperança continues to provide medical missions to such places as Peru, Mozambique, Ecuador, Bolivia and Nicaragua. In addition, volunteers and indigenous partners provide these communities with access to clean water, stable sources of food, disease prevention, health education and ecological home-building.
Esperança’s domestic program in Phoenix partners with Title I schools, dental clinics and community centers, Esperança’s bilingual and bicultural health educators to provide children with oral health literacy, referrals for free or low-cost dental care and daily health and wellness exercises. They stress the importance of nutrition and physical activity, providing information in a language and at a level the kids can understand.
Known as Salud con Sabor Latino (Health with a Latin Flavor), adult classes are built around the idea that a family can be healthy, without losing touch with their culture. Participants engage in hands-on activities, such as cooking sessions and tours of local grocery stores.
For more information, plus ways to volunteer and contribute, visit www.esperanca.org.