Maria Velasquez Director of Programs
AYUDAtel: (267)239-3467, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
skype: maria.velasquez25 cell: (267) 239.3467
VISIT US web: www.ayudainc.net facebook: ayudainc twitter: @ayudaincEMPOWERING YOUTH TO SERVE AS AGENTS OF CHANGE IN DIABETES COMMUNITIES ABROAD~Juntos Somos Más Fuertes! Together We Are Stronger!~
The eight days I spent this summer in Santo Domingo with the Ganémosle Program made it clear that that AYUDA’s assistance is both crucial and welcomed. Our visit to Robert Reed’s public children’s hospital illustrated this, revealing the hardships of diabetic life in the Dominican Republic. Through the crowded halls we walked, witnessing the strange mixture of joy, shock, anxiety and despair that only a hospital can offer. A frail boy, with bones hardly able to support him, hobbled by with the help of crutches and his nurse’s support. The doctor touring us noticed that I was looking and said to me,“he has diabetes.” The only difference between him and I is that, being from Canada, I have had the education, access to medicine, and support from others living with diabetes that provided me with the essential building blocks to learn to live healthily with diabetes.
These things, that I have had and he doesn’t, are what AYUDA and Aprendiendo a Vivir (our Dominican partner) are working to offer and cultivate in the DR. Our mission is key to ensuring these young people live and thrive with diabetes.
For the rest of the week in Santo Domingo we raised awareness in the streets, conducted an educational program in San Pedro, and amped up for the big day: Ganémosle 2014’s 5K, 10k, and Zumba fitness festivities.
The events drew thousands to Santo Domingo’s central park, among them local celebrities and professional athletes. That morning we ran an educational day camp for young people living with diabetes, while their parents participated in the race. I was with the 4-7 year olds and taught them how to best react to extreme blood sugars and how to recognize which foods have carbohydrates and which don’t.
The race was hugely successful as it raised awareness of diabetes to those who knew nothing about it and had the participation of the entire city. At the end of the day I was doing yoga with an eager, smiling six-year old, who was a pupil at our day camp. After giggling at my inflexibility she tapped me in the shoulder and said that she had something to say to me “en ingles.” She then hugged me tightly around the waist and said, “Thank you forever.”
In January 1987, a group of volunteers under the patronage of the Lions Club of Port-au-Prince Central opened two clinics, a clinic of the Hospital of St. Francis de Sales and another in Cité Soleil local Centers for Development and Health (CDS). In addition to medical care free, educational sessions before and during consultations explain to patients the importance of treatment, the need to recognize the signs and symptoms of diabetes and worsening, and the obligation to report to the medical team.
FHADIMAC is open every day for the sick and offers the free distribution of insulin to diabetics who are sometimes disadvantaged youth through an established referral system. FHADIMAC also offers two weekly clinics for patients of poor classes (identified by its social program). A podiatric clinic is held once a week for the systematic evaluation of the feet. Diabetics who are identified at risk are reviewed according to a predefined schedule. Daily educational sessions are delivered to all members attending FHADIMAC. They are followed by meetings of patients and their parents (support group).
FHADIMAC is a totally Haitian foundation providing services to those who want it. It plays a vital role in the daily lives of thousands of diabetics, hypertensive and their parents by providing them with salutary advice to enable them to "Living Well with Diabetes and Hypertension".
Every summer AYUDA volunteers from the United States and Canada work alongside FHADIMAC youth leaders to run a camp for kids and families living with diabetes.
This year, emmy nominated TV host and reporter at dLife, Benno Schmidt, visited Haiti with AYUDA this past spring. He made some videos of his experience you can see here!