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!
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