For this report to our donors, I'd like to share a blog post from one of our returning volunteers:
By Ashley Morse (Campo Amigo Dominican Republic 2013 and 2014)
On May 11th I celebrated ten full years of living with diabetes. If you talked to me on May 11th of any other year, I would not have been so celebratory. In fact, I use to regard diabetes as a hindrance. It made every aspect of my life—sports, class and friends— more difficult. May 11th merely served to remind me of how much more challenging my life had to be as a result of diabetes. However, May 11th, 2014 was different. After finding my place last year as an AYUDA volunteer and spending three weeks in the Dominican Republic to support others with this same condition, my mindset changed completely. Diabetes is still a huge day- to-day commitment with a plethora of emotional and physical ups and downs, but for me, it has been a blessing in disguise.
Last summer was the first summer I volunteered with AYUDA, and I’ll be returning this year for the Campo Amigo program in the Dominican Republic. It was an incredibly sobering experience to witness the poverty some Dominicans face on top of managing such an expensive condition. The experience showed me how lucky I am to have access to such great resources and to be supported by such a wonderful community. In this way, my experience with diabetes challenged me to take full advantage of the resources and knowledge I have and to bring them into communities that are less fortunate. AYUDA became the first experience in my life for which I felt I could personally make a difference. I learned that there are few things in life that bring as much happiness as assisting another to improve his or her life.
So, thanks to AYUDA, this year and every year, I’ll be celebrating on May 11th.
I send a warm and hearty thank you to all our supporters for your continued support! As AYUDA's motto says "Juntos somos más fuertes!" - Together we are stronger!
In recognition of World Diabetes Day on November 14th, a small, experienced AYUDA Team combined forces once again with the young leaders of AYUDA's primary partner organization in the Dominican Republic (Aprendiendo a Vivir/AAV) to put together a series of diabetes education and outreach activities in schools across the capital. All sessions started with asking students what they had heard about diabetes and whether they knew anyone in their families with the condition. More than half of students raised their hands in most of the sessions. The rest of the interactive sessions focused on 'myth-busting' a lot of preconceived ideas about diabetes, how it occurred and how it could be managed. In total more than 1000 students were reached via this pilot program. Furthermore, funds were raised for our local partner through the sale of diabetes day bracelets and T-shirts.
In addition to these sessions, the team was involved with a Media Tour discussing World Diabetes Day which included TV, Radio and newspaper appearances. These events culminated in a specially designed workshop in San Pedro de Macorís with a small local foundation called "El Hogar del Diabético". This new partnership with AAV serves as an outreach opportunity for both organizations to work closely with a broader population of people living with diabetes. AYUDA volunteers Louise Kyle and Chris Noble worked with AAV's young leaders to prepare sessions on diabetes education 101 while Diabetes Health Educator and Nurse from Barcelona, Irune Goicochea, delivered a more technical training on diabetes management to local nurses from the main public hospital in the region as well a small group of nursing students.
World Diabetes Day activities also included a hosting of an hour of a global WDD chat on issues around youth empowerment and diabetes, and the lighting in blue (the color of diabetes) of one of the main Agora shopping Mall in Santo Domingo.
This note is to thank all our supporters who have generously contributed to our activities to provide lifesaving education and support for children living with diabetes in Ecuador.
AYUDA has been collaborating with its local partner in Quito: la Fundación Diabetes Juvenil Ecuador (FDJE) since 2004 and we are happy to report that the local team is now in a position to lead and sustain the majority of their activities. This is an achievement!
As we go forward we are discussing new ways to support the local diabetes community in Ecuador via AYUDA’s mission to empower youth to serve as agents of change. In the mean time we are also carrying out multiple ongoing grassroots projects we have in diabetic communities in the Dominican Republic and a pilot program we intend to launch with partners in an additional country in 2014.
Click here for more information on our Dominican Republic Projects on Global Giving.