I am a U.S.-based physician who has found myself drawn back to Superemos on a recurrent basis to participate in their annual medical delegations and to experience their endless positive energy. I have been so impressed with the quality of work that they do and touched by the level of compassion with which they do it. I find their work truly remarkable and feel passionate about supporting them in their effort to continue to provide and expand upon the important services they currently provide to the communities of northern Nicaragua. Because I am such an enthusiastic believer in their intention and ability to lift the lives of those they touch, I volunteered to bring them into the crowdfunding space, in hopes of reaching more like-minded people that would be interested in supporting their work. The following summary was written by me based on information from Superemos in conjunction with my own experiential observations. Thank you for taking a moment to read on!
Superemos Foundation is a non-profit foundation (est. 1999) that promotes sustainable community development in under-served, low income communities in northern Nicaragua through education, training and health care from its home base in the city of Estelí.
Our main objective is to improve the living standards in northern Nicaragua. We believe the most effective way to do this by providing access to quality education, health care and social work programs within under-served and impoverished communities in the region, particularly among female members. Over the years, we have built a successful integral community development model, focusing on low income families in rural communities and outlying urban districts of Estelí.
How do we do this?
Superemos Foundation is busy year-round providing extensive services, falling into 3 major themes:
- Coordination of an annual 3 week medical and dental delegation that incorporates into its year-round community health program (including a fluoride varnish program).
- Several education and training opportunities, mainly for women and youth, including adult secondary education for over 150 adults, youth arts education, and several skills training programs.
- Domestic violence screening, counseling, legal advice and shelter through Superemo's Intervention, Change and Education Service (ICES), which is staffed by a psychologist and a lawyer with support from social work interns, as well as educators providing outreach activities to expectant mothers and community health promoters.
- Superemos provides several other services and participates in many activities within the region. We invite you to read more in our Superemos Annual Reportand from our blog.
What makes the Superemos Medical Delegation special?
- Annually, Superemos hosts a 3 week medical delegation supported by the Dorchester House Multi Service Center (Boston, MA), working closely with the Ministry of Health (MINSA) to support the existing health care system in provision of episodic health care and to address issues of reproductive health, dental hygiene and domestic violence. Dr. Peter Loewinthan (formerly of Dorchester House) came to Nicaragua originally in 1999 to assist in post-Hurricane Mitch relief work, during which time he met Stephen Sefton (currently of the board of Superemos) who was working for the Irish government in community development work in northern Nicaragua. Peter became committed to assisting very low income rural and urban communities in the area to realize their right to adequate healthcare. Over the years, the program has developed into a 3 week brigade involving around 25 to 30 health professionals (including physicians, nurse practitioners, nurses, residents, final year medical students, psychologists, dental, and often eye specialists) who serve more than 1600 individuals (approx. 900 children, 700 adults) from 20 communities (often remote) within a radius of 45 miles around the city of Estelí.
- We work closely with MINSA to ensure that we are delivering consultation and care that is supportive of the local physicians and health care system, often discussing cases with the local physicians that come to join us during our work days in their communities, to ensure we are aware of concerns and questions that they have about particular cases and assistance that they need in delivering more optimal patient care. These local providers also help us determine which methods of care will be sustainable for patients, so as to determine the best way to achieve improvement in quality of life and well-being. Discussions with the local physicians inform them of what we are planning to do for their patients, what needs follow-up attention and what recommendations we have for optimizing care strategies. We deliver messaging to patients and communities that is in line with local values and goals, and we utilize, as much as possible, medications our patients are able to obtain from their local physicians.
- We usually find that it is necessary to provide some kind of follow up to about 250 patients, which may take the form of purchasing medicine or supplies, facilitating laboratory tests or specialty consultation (assistance with scheduling, cost of traveling and/or overnight accommodation for appointments), or purchasing aids such as walkers or canes, wrist splints or pressure stockings.
- The brigade provides educational materials in accessible low literacy Spanish and organizes training workshops for approximately 150 local community volunteer health promoters.
Where do your donations go?
Superemos Foundation is run by a volunteer board. The Barr Foundation coordinates the delivery of donations to Superemos on a volunteer basis and does not collect fees. 100% of donations go to delivering the services described above. Approximately 2/3 of this campaign’s financial goal is to support activities and services related to this year's annual medical delegation. All delegation participants pay for their own flights, accommodations, and food. All other services provided by Superemos are funded by other sources and supplemented by the remainder of this campaign's proceeds.
Why fund Superemos?
Superemos makes it possible for its supporters to realize their humanitarian vision for a better world. Thanks to their guidance and humanitarian inspiration, we are able to improve the lives of families in Northern Nicaragua, particularly in our home base in Estelí.
The Superemos Foundation is a non-profit foundation based in Estelí, Nicaragua (Ministerio de Gobernación perpetual number #1809, est. 1999). Donations to The Superemos Foundation are accepted through the Barr Foundation, which is a US registered 501(c)(3) charitable organization, is 73-1456251. As a 501(c)(3 ) organization granted tax exempt status by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), your donations to us are tax deductible.
If you'd prefer to donate by check or have other questions about the work that Superemos does, please contact [email protected]
Thank you for reading, for your donations and for sharing with like-minded friends!
- Your friends at Superemos, The Barr Foundation and the Dorchester House