Health for Humanity Service Society is a registered, charitable organization based in British Columbia, supported entirely by volunteers and with minimal administrative overhead. We believe in the basic human right to live in a healthy environment and have access to health care and education. Our aim is to support these rights for everyone by mobilizing the human and capital resources to strengthen the healthcare capacity of developing countries in need. Our focus has been on Guatemala, as this country represents one of the most impoverished population in the Latin Americas, particularly amongst its Indigenous peoples.
The Early Years
Since our first surgical mission to Guatemala in 2002, we have provided access to needed surgical care to more than 1500 men, women and children in Guatemala and the Philippines. Further, we have supported the development of integral infrastructure and provided medical equipment to the local hospitals and community clinics where we have volunteered our services. Our teams are made up of health care professionals who are also supporters, embarking on our missions on their own time, and at their own expense. Donated funds, equipment, supplies, and medications are used in the local hospitals and communities for the benefit of individuals and families in need. We always work in cooperation with local healthcare professionals, providing training where possible. We have established a long-standing partnership with Companero de Salud (Partner for Surgery), a Guatemalan NGO that provides education, advocacy, translation and navigational support to Mayan communities in remote northern areas of the country so that they may access our volunteer surgical services. To date, we have sent over 15 medical/surgical teams to Guatemala and 4 medical/surgical/dental teams to the Philippines.
Although Health for Humanity was formed with the broad purpose of improving health in developing countries, our early years focused on the successful delivery of surgical missions. Through these missions, we confirmed our organization and established our credibility both in Canada and in Guatemala. We began partnering with local non-governmental organizations (NGOs) for the surgical missions and in recent years, we have begun supporting other Guatemalan NGO partners in public health and educational initiatives. While the surgical missions will remain an important part of H4H activities, we intend to enhance our collaborations with local community-based partners who engage in health promotion and education, particularly for marginalized populations in rural and remote regions.
Our Rural projects
By visiting our facebook page or exploring our news page (on this site), you can observe the living conditions of people in rural communities where access to clean water, sanitation and safe cooking facilities is extremely limited. Simple innovations such as clay water filter systems and wood-saving stoves that enclose flames and exhaust, can make a tremendous difference to ensuring safe drinking water and home environments for vulnerable families, particularly children. Nutrition programs and primary education opportunities for children, especially girls, are two important determinants in the development of healthy populations. Through partnerships with a local NGOs (Vamos Adelante, Proyecto Payaso, and Nuevo Horizonte), H4H is providing financial assistance and expertise to support the implementation of these innovations, primary school scholarships, training for community-based health workers, basic medicines and supplies for primary care outreach clinics. H4H recognizes that economic development is a major determinant of health and to that end, is committed to exploring opportunities that support community-based economic initiatives such as micro-loans, particularly in the area of food security for people living in rural and remote regions.
It is our hope to increase awareness among Canadians and mobilize cross-sectoral efforts to address the significant health inequities of people, particularly Indigenous peoples, in the developing world. Our focus on Guatemala, one of the poorest countries in the Americas, provides opportunity to identify needs and direct our volunteer resources to contribute to improvements, in collaboration with local NGOs and government. While our impact may be relatively small, our volunteer efforts can and do make a significant difference in the lives of individuals, families and communities. And, our stories and photos can serve to inspire many more to work together towards our common goal of ensuring basic human rights for all.