Our Medical and Dental Clinic aims to provide reliable and affordable local health care to adults and children in the Palajunoj Valley. Primeros Pasos originally started as a children’s clinic with the mission to serve students in the 10 primary schools in the Valley....Read More
Our Healthy Schools Program provides primary students in the Palajunoj Valley with free annual clinical care accompanied by education aimed to encourage life-long healthy habits. Primeros Pasos was originally founded to specifically address the health issues confronting school...Read More
Primeros Pasos aspira mejorar la calidad de vida de las comunidades rurales del Valle Palajunoj de Quetzaltenango, Guatemala, a través de programas de educación de la salud integrados y acceso a servicios médicos.
Our mission is to improve the quality of life of the rural communities in Guatemala through integrated health education programs and access to medical services.
Through the years Primeros Pasos has identified the most significant disparities among women and children and we have focused our programs to target these vulnerable populations. Each year we give mothers the tools to become active participants in their self-care, and as the primary caretakers, the care of their families.
With your gift to Primeros Pasos, we’ll email a printable certificate to your Mom or honoree (be sure to fill out the dedication information on our online donation form). Thank you for your support, and Happy Mother’s Day!
In 2012 we started our Nutritional Recuperation Program that helped 26 malnourished children recuperate their normal height and weight. We also taught their families about important health topics, ensuring that the children would continue to grow and live a healthy life.
This year we’ll expand the program by working in some of the most remote communities in the Palajunoj Valley with a group of 20 low income pregnant mothers and 30 chronically malnourished children under two years. However, to be able to continue our work we need your help!
For 2013 we’re partnering with One Day’s Wages in order to raise the money we need. One Day’s Wages has agreed to support the project with $8,000 if we manage to raise $2,000. This 80/20 match scheme is the largest portion One Day’s Wages has ever awarded, which proves their belief in the importance of our project.
The 80/20 match scheme means that every dollar you give us has an actual effect of 5 dollars. Help us and the children of the Palajunoj Valley by making a small contribution to our program. Or maybe you can even spare one day’s wage?
Our partners in the states, The Inter-American Health Alliance, are looking for new board members. If you are interested, please see the note at the bottom on how to contact IAHA. And please spread the word to any friends, colleagues or family who might be interested!
Founded in 2004, IAHA through a rights-based, inclusive approach to healthcare fosters cross-sector collaboration and provides financial and technical support to establish self-sustaining Guatemala-based community health projects serving neglected populations. IAHA’s principle program in 2013 is Primeros Pasos, a rural health clinic located in the Palajunoj Valley in the department of Quetzaltenango (www.primerospasos.org). With an emphasis on providing access to integrated, culturally and linguistically-appropriate preventative health care, Primeros Pasos delivers vital education and direct services to more than 8,000 individuals annually. IAHA is going through a phase of restructuring, is investing in organizational development and is in the process of recruiting new Board Members who are committed to leading our organization into the future.
Board Member Role:
IAHA Board Members serve as ambassadors, helping to fulfill the organization’s mission and uphold its values. As the ultimate leaders of the organization, all members are tasked with providing strategic governance.
Board Member Responsibilities:
Leadership, Governance and Oversight
IAHA Board Members will consider IAHA a philanthropic priority and make annual gifts that reflect that priority. IAHA expects to have all Board Members make an annual contribution of at least $1,000. This can be achieved through a personal donation and/or through other means such as special events, presentations, grant writing support, networking, among others. Ample support will be provided by fellow Board Members and program staff to ensure fundraising goals are met.
IAHA’s Board Members serve a four-year term. Board meetings will be held quarterly and committee meetings will be held monthly. Board members are required to attend/participate in all Board meetings. In addition, Board Members are encouraged to visit IAHA’s program in Guatemala on an annual basis and will ideally recruit others to join them in order to grow the organization’s base of support.
In addition to a belief in our mission, selected Board Members will have achieved leadership stature in business, government, philanthropy, or the nonprofit sector. Her/his accomplishments will allow her/him to attract other well-qualified, high-performing Board Members and other resources for the organization. Ideal candidates will have the following qualifications:
Service on IAHA’s Board of Directors is without remuneration. IAHA-related expenses incurred (e.g. travel, supplies, etc.) are considered in-kind donations and are therefore tax-deductible.
If you are interested in applying for the position of IAHA Board Member, please submit your CV and a cover letter detailing your qualifications and interest to Josie Silverman, IAHA Board Development Consultant at email@example.com. To learn more about IAHA, we invite you to visit our website at www.interamericanhealth.org.Read More
I started volunteering with the Primeros Pasos and the Nutritional Recuperation Program in October. The Nutritional Recuperation Program works with chronically malnourished children and their families in the Palajunoj Valley through medical treatment and health education. At the beginning of working with the nutrition program, my artistic and crafting skills were put to the test when Cindy, the nutritionist, asked me to make fruit and vegetable crowns for the kids in the program. Later that week, the clinic hosted a celebration for the kids and mothers of the program for el Día del Niño (Children’s Day). The kids showed their knowledge of what fruits and vegetables they knew by guessing what each crown was and then looked incredibly cute playing outside the clinic wearing them. Later, my artistic skills were once again put to the test when I made visuals for an activity for one of the educational seminars that the mothers in the program attend. What I had not realized before working with the nutrition program was the importance of incorporating visual materials within an educational curriculum, especially when working with communities such as those in the Palajunoj Valley. Guatemala has the lowest literacy rate in Central America, with large disparities between indigenous and non-indigenous communities and between men and women. Many of the moms in the Nutritional Recuperation Program cannot read, so incorporating visual materials is both important and necessary. Creating an educational program and curriculum without relying on written word was a challenge I hadn’t thought about before working with the Nutrition Program.Read More
“Thank God that there is a clinic with free medicine that is close to the communities in the Valley. It is a great help to us here. There are many children in Candelaria that need to be seen by a doctor. When kids in my class are sick, I tell their mothers that they need to go to the the Primeros Pasos Clinic.”
-Lucía, Teacher from Candelaria
“‘Zanahoria! Manzana! Aguacate!’ Kids scream out a flurry of fruits and vegetables, practically falling out of their seats to raise their hands to volunteer for the activity I am leading with other volunteers from Primeros Pasos on nutrition in this 3rd grade classroom. In my first week at Primeros Pasos, such was the environment I was thrown into as a Children’s Health Educator: fast-paced, demanding, and rewarding.”
-Olivia, Children’s Health Education Volunteer
(Learn how you can volunteer for Primeros Pasos!)
“I am the second of five brothers, and my older brother had to leave school only after completing the 9th grade to help my dad with household expenses. My dad works in the field and last year he lost his crop by the tropical storm- we were left with nothing. I thought of working instead of studying, it pained me to cause my dad so much expenses. However, soon after Primeros Pasos gave me a scholarship. Now I can study calmly knowing that the money is there for me. I have a high average in school now and I’m also being trained on various topics each month as part of the program. I am very grateful for Primeros Pasos.”
-Fernando, Primeros Pasos Scholarship Recipient
“I am the mother of 11 children. I raise them with my husband, and we have strong faith in God. He helps us to move forward against the lack of resources, work and opportunities that make it difficult to support all of our children. My youngest sons is making progress thanks to the Nutrition Program at Primeros Pasos. His energy and spirits are on the rise.”
-Paula, Nutritional Recuperation Participant
“Before coming to the EBS group, I did not have any experience in community events. But after learning the importance of women’s participation in the community, I have integrated with other groups to learn different things and share what I have learned in EBS. Thanks to Primeros Pasos for giving women the opportunity to learn about new and productive topics, even if at some point we thought we could not learn. What we have learned is absolutely useful to us as women.”
-Louisa, Women’s Health Education Program (EBS) Participant
Many people don’t know that the overall rate of malnutrition in Guatemala is the highest in Central America and higher than many African countries. Primeros Pasos’ newest program, Nutritional Recuperation, started in January with the mission of supporting chronically malnourished children and their families through medical treatment and nutritional education, in turn improving children’s health and promoting healthy homes. The program is now in full swing and showing great progress. The nutrition team began the year by weighing and measuring over 150 children under the age of five in 11 public daycares in the Valley. The 25 most malnourished children and their families were selected to participate in the one-year pilot program.
Over the course of this year, the parents attend biweekly educational seminars, which include interactive activities about hygiene and health. These classes are well attended with over 90% participation rates, and feedback from the families is positive. Each family receives monthly supplement packets containing nutrient fortified beverage mix, protein-packed meat substitute, and chewable multivitamins. Recently, the families received a cooking workshop from a local chef, where the parents learned to prepare healthy meals, such as chinese rice with the meat substitute and a vegetable stew made with the fortified beverage mix. Each family was given a handmade, highly visual recipe book specifically designed for illiterate adults and new recipes will be added each month.
Progress is monitored through tri-monthly medical check-ups, monthly weigh-ins, and periodic parasite checks. All clinic visits are free in addition to any medication that they may need. The baseline medical exams revealed that almost every child had intestinal parasites. In most cases, children in the area receive enough daily calories, but often lack sufficient nutrients due to parasites and unvaried diets. Over the last few months, there has been noted weight gain in most children; they are looking healthier and parents are reporting higher spirits and energy. The caregivers at the daycares have also seen improved habits in hygiene from the participating families.
With the hopes of making the program more holistic, the nutrition team is performing a full needs assessment during home visits. These have proven invaluable in understanding the issues and challenges that the families face. Primeros Pasos is also in the beginning stages of partnering with various organizations to address basic needs that these families lack, such as water and sanitation.
Many people in the communities are learning about our Nutritional Recuperation Program through word of mouth and we have seen an increase in interest for participation. Primeros Pasos is working hard to improve the program and looking for ways to sustainably expand our reach and breadth in the Valley. To help this program grow, donate today.Read More