Project Surgical Surgical Missions Medical Missions

Volunteer Surgical Program

Of all the work Esperança conducts, none has more dramatic effect than our surgical missions.

Each mission is dedicated to either general surgery or a surgical specialty such as plastic surgery, orthopedic, ophthalmology, pediatric, gynecology, and urology. All operations performed significantly improve quality of life for our patients and in some cases are life-saving. Volunteer surgeons, anesthesiologists and nurses come from throughout the U.S., procuring medical supplies for their mission and paying their own travel expenses. Each team travels 1-2 weeks and accomplishes between 40 and 50 surgeries. Training of local health professionals is an important component of our program.

Esperança provides the surgical clinics that host these missions with donated medical supplies and equipment. A typical shipment is worth an estimated value of more than $1 million.

Countries Served: Nicaragua and Peru

Last year, Esperança’s sent 14 volunteer surgical teams who performed 662 free surgeries at an estimated in-kind value of $2.4 million dollars. They were treated for severe burns, cleft palates, injuries and deformities, goiters, hernias, and tumors. Over $1.4 million dollars of needed medical goods were donated to local clinics and hospitals.


Project Clean Water

Clean Water and Sanitation

In the developing world, unsafe water conditions and a lack of basic sanitation can cause up to 80 percent of diseases. Most water sources are contaminated as they are used not only for drinking and cooking but for bathing, laundry, irrigation, and waste disposal as well. Waterborne illnesses, such as cholera, have devastating consequences for poor families, with children being the most vulnerable.

Delivering clean water and improved sanitation is a major focus of Esperança’s work. We build community wells, water systems and latrines in every region we serve using local materials. Each benefitting family participates in the construction process, providing all of the labor and taking true ownership of their new water source.

Countries Served: Nicaragua, Bolivia and Mozambique

A well that is properly maintained can provide clean water for more than 30 years. Last year, Esperança provided clean water to 3,970 individuals through the construction of wells and water systems, improving the quality of water and life for thousands.


Project Home Home Building

Home Building & Improvement

Millions in the developing world live in homes constructed of nothing more than cardboard, mud, sticks, and various discarded materials. Mud walls and thatched roofs also provide homes for disease-bearing insects. Cooking is done over an open fire, often resulting in harmful respiratory infections for the family and causing accidents and severe burns – especially for children.

Since 1970, Esperança has constructed and repaired thousands of new homes around the world. A typical home costs just a few thousand dollars and consists of two bedrooms, a living area, kitchen, bathroom and storage. We select families who demonstrate the greatest need. We provide the materials training and oversight to complete each home. The benefitting family provides the labor. The end result is a well built home that will provide families with a safe and clean place to live for many years.

Countries Served: Nicaragua, Bolivia and Peru

To construct a home in a developing country costs just $3,000. Over 1,403 homes in Bolivia were repaired or constructed last year to prevent Chagas disease.


Project Food

Nutrition & Food Security

Adequate nutrition is critical to maintaining health. Malnutrition increases both the risk of contracting disease and the severity of any illness. Growing children are especially vulnerable.

Esperança is investing in food-related micro business opportunities for very poor families. We provide livestock like pigs and chickens or seed crops like quinoa and the relevant training to ensure success. Families gain a stable source of food, immediately improving their nutrition. Profits from selling excess milk, eggs, grain and other crops can be used to further improve the family’s health, such as replacing mud walls with healthier materials, continuing their child’s education or gaining access to clean water.

Countries Served: Nicaragua, Bolivia, Mozambique, Peru, and United States

The average person earns less than $1 per day in Nicaragua. A chicken microbusiness project costs just $120 and provides $1.50 of income per day by selling the eggs as well as providing nutrition for a family.


Project Prevention

Disease Prevention and Treatment

Esperança works to prevent and treat Malaria, HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, respiratory infections, diarrheal diseases, cholera, Chagas disease and others illnesses that plague families living in developing countries. Effective, low-cost solutions are available, and we emphasize preventative education.

Since 2002, Esperança has put additional effort into combating Chagas disease, which leads causes irreversible heart, esophageal, and colon damage when left untreated. Heart failure can occur in children as young as 10 years old who have been infected with the disease since birth. It is spread through the bite of an insect that thrives in Latin American and Caribbean homes with thatched roofs and mud walls. Approximately 20% of the population in Bolivia is infected with Chagas Disease – the highest infection rate in the world. In addition to preventative education, we repair and construct new homes and provide treatment, often in conjunction with our surgical missions.

Countries Served: Nicaragua, Bolivia, Mozambique, Peru and United States

Health screenings, testing, and treatment were provided for 3,803 individuals for illnesses such as malaria, HIV/AIDS, Chagas Disease, and diabetes.


Project Education

Health Education and Training

Countless villagers around the globe have suffered devastating effects from easily preventable diseases, because they had no way to receive basic health messages or access health care.

A longstanding way to reach residents of the developing world is called the promotora model. Essentially, it involves identifying natural community leaders and training them in strategies for disease prevention. They then train other members of their community, establishing practices that improve the health of the entire neighborhood.
At each project site, Esperança’s identifies community leaders who are willing to volunteer as health promoters. To date, thousands have been trained and are working to make their communities healthier.

Countries Served: Nicaragua, Bolivia, Mozambique, Peru and United States

Preventive health education reached 42,327 men, women and children who attended health education workshops in their communities on important health issues such as malaria, HIV/AIDS, Chagas Disease, respiratory infections, diarrheal diseases, and maternal and infant health.


Project US Dental

U.S. Program

Esperança recognizes that there are communities in the United States that struggle daily with unmet health needs. In 2000 we began providing health education (including oral health, nutrition and fitness information for the entire family), basic medical screenings, health referrals and capacity-building initiatives in local communities.

We take pride in being part of the effort here in the U.S. to make our own communities healthier. Simply stated, a healthy life is a priceless gift anywhere in the world.

More than 280 adults and children in central Phoenix received toothbrushes last year.

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