AYUDA staff and volunteers returned home in mid July after multiple weeks of diabetes education and empowerment activities in the Dominican Republic to support children and youth with Type 1 Diabetes and their families.
The summer activities were kicked off in May with our local partner in Santo Domingo, Aprendiendo a Vivir (AAV) and our 'Ganémosle la carrera a la diabetes' (let's beat diabetes) advocacy campaign. In the lead up to the main events held over the weekend of June 8th and 9th AYUDA volunteers and local young leaders with diabetes were involved in a media tour of radio and TV stations where they were invited to discuss diabetes, many of them talking about their personal experiences living with Type 1, the importance of exercise and nutrition and of course promoting the events themselves.
The events themselves included a 10K Race, a 5K Race & Walk/Run, a children's race and a zumbathon! In a country where 1 in 4 people either has diabetes or is at risk, the message was clear: if you have diabetes, exercise to better manage it and if you don't have diabetes, exercise to stay fit and try to prevent the onset of Type 2. We were proud to see over 2000 people attend the event. Check out the link to watch the video of the event!
Not only did the volunteers serve as excellent role models they played a key role in the planning, preparation and implementation of diabetes education activities for the children and youth with diabetes from AAV who attended the events. All funds from Ganémosle also went to support AAV and enable them to continue their work to educate and empower people living with diabetes in the Dominican Republic.
The other major activities of the summer were the two diabetes education camps for children and youth with diabetes and their families, and an outreach program to a neighbouring town of San Pedro. The Family Camp saw 200 people in attendance for a packed weekend of carefully tailored diabetes education activities for different age groups. AYUDA volunteers and local young leaders prepared entertaining and innovative games that would make learning about managing diabetes fun and memorable. Activities included a dance routine that helps young children remember where all the injection sites are on the body and a rap song about diabetes. Parents spent time working with AAV's Psychologist and Director of Education Sandra Jaquez as well as with a certified diabetes educator from Barcelona who had travelled to the DR specifically to support these programs.
The second weekend camp focused on recently diagnosed children and their parents. Children who were more at risk or needed additional help were also invited to join this program. These activities followed a similar structure but were adapted to the particular group's knowledge base. Over 125 people participated in these activities.
Thank you to all our supporters for their continued support! As AYUDA's motto says "Juntos somos más fuertes!" - Together we are stronger!
Since we last wrote, AYUDA's partner organization, the FDJE, the Fundación Diabetes Juvenil Ecuador, and AYUDA have been in ongoing, weekly discussions about new opportunities for collaboration in Ecuador.
In the early years, AYUDA volunteers worked closely with the local youth with diabetes from the FDJE and lead many of the activities. Today, after more than 10 years of projects together, the local youth are now leading the activities and AYUDA provide their support. A huge success! Now, together we are able to consider focusing on new activities and projects to support the Type 1 Diabetes Community in Ecuador.
This summer, an experienced AYUDA Volunteer will be spending 6 weeks in Quito supporting the summer diabetes camp activities and beginning to explore the possibilities of a mobile technology initiative to increase compliance among young people with diabetes.
We'll be sure to keep you updated as our discussions and plans with our partner continue and we look forward to sharing as we go forward. We are excited about this new phrase in our partnership!
If you're interested in learning more about other diabetes education projects AYUDA is supporting, take a look at our newest endeavour in the Dominican Republic, also featured on Global Giving:
AYUDA and our Dominican partner are excited to invite you to join us on June 9th in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic for 'Ganémosle la carrera a la diabetes': (Lets Beat Diabetes Race) to support young people living with diabetes in the Dominican Republic. This event features a 10k and 5K Run/Walk (10K and 5K Carrera), a Children's Race and a Zumba-a-thon.
The event is key since currently 1 in 4 Dominicans either have or are at risk of having diabetes. The event, in conjunction with it's national diabetes advocacy campaign aims to increase physical activity levels by encouraging people to exercise in a fun, friendly environment. AYUDA will be bringing a team of young volunteers, 50% of whom have Type 1 diabetes, to be part of the national media campaign and to work together as role models to show that diabetes or not, everyone can lead a healthy lifestyle which includes exercise. AYUDA volunteers will be working closely with other youth with diabetes from Aprendiendo A Vivir, AYUDA's local partner to help to change the public perception of people living with diabetes. There will also a be a children's diabetes education program for children with diabetes attending the event.
Take a look at the video link below to see a 'behind the scenes' insight in the campaign.
And if you can, consider joining us in-country on June 9th and be part of the action yourself!
As AYUDA's motto says,'Juntos somos más fuertes' - "together we are stronger"...