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Seeds Of Hope Charity Profile
The first volunteers came to Rodolfo Robles hospital to lift the spirit of patients. They brought board games and reading material, sat and chatted, and organized sing-alongs. But the more urgent needs of patients were not addressed until Sarah Gough, a medical social worker from Canada, began Seeds of Hope in June 2002.
Set up to decrease the spread of Tuberculosis in western Guatemala, Seeds of Hope gives support to people hospitalized for long periods of time. Patients at Rodolfo Robles have a minimum stay of three months and very little to do all day. Many come from rural areas, and their families do not have the financial means to visit or call, so patients may be isolated from their families for several months.
Social work is essential to evaluating and addressing the economic, social, and psychological problems patients face. These problems can often prevent patients staying in the hospital and completing their TB treatment.
The community awareness project informs isolated communities how they can access free treatment at Rodolfo Robles, recognize the symptoms of TB and AIDS, and prevent spreading these diseases. Out-patients and their families are educated on health issues while waiting for consultations in the external clinic. We hope to reach over 5,000 families per year in this way.
Recreational activities are designed to revitalize patients. Depression, alcoholism and addiction, along with economic strain, are the main reasons patients leave the hospital before finishing their treatment, and can decrease the body's ability to fight disease. Activities range from co-operative games to concerts, football matches and movies.
Hands in Action was set up to help patients with some of their financial needs. Patients can earn a little money and proceeds from Hands in Action crafts go towards a patient emergency fund.
The patient emergency fund comes from a combination of Hands in Action profits and private donations. Patients can apply for funds through the Seeds of Hope social worker. They may need money for examinations or medication that are not available at the hospital, their journey home, a telephone card to call their family, or to help support their family at home. In the process patients receive emotional support from the Seeds of Hope social worker.
The alcoholic support group offers hope to those suffering from alcoholism. Addiction lowers the body's ability to fight disease, makes the medication work less effectively, and is one of the main problems that lead patients to abandon their treatment.
The alcoholic support group is run by local facilitators from a nearby rehabilitation centre with the initial support of Seeds of Hope.
All Seeds of Hope projects are created with the intention that they will become permanent and self-sustaining within 5 years. Seed money, connections, education and training are provided by Seeds of Hope who then steps back into a supportive role as local institutions take on responsibility of the projects. Please consider donating to Seeds of Hope so that we can continue to do this work.
Seeds Of Hope Volunteer Information
Seeds of Hope volunteer work includes:
· Public health education
· Program development
· Recreational activities with patients
· Spanish literacy classes with patients
· Counseling by licensed professionals
· Hands in Action activities
· Fund raising and grant writing
· Publicity and donor relations
Opportunities range from full-time permanent positions to one-time activities with the support of Seeds of Hope staff. Students at Spanish-language schools may be able to give an hour a week to the project. Project ideas are welcome.
Volunteers who are going to be working with TB patients should know the risks of infection. The risk from a single visit is extremely low, especially if you are in good health with a strong immune system. Activities are done in airy rooms, which reduces the risk. Patients are educated to protect visitors from contracting TB, e.g. coughing into a handkerchief, and patients who attend activities are usually far enough into their treatment that they are not very contagious.
Activities without patient contact are also available.
Seeds Of Hope Donation Information
Financial donations of any size are urgently needed. You can decide where you want your donation to go, or let us pick the area of greatest need. We have 501(c)(3) nonprofit status which means donations from the US are tax-deductible.