VOLUNTEERS FOR INTERAMERICAN DEVELOPMENT ASSISTANCE

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Issues: Environment, Human Services, International

Location: 6251 Hollis St Emeryville CA 94608 USA

Mission: VIDA was founded in 1991 in Northern California as a response to the cholera epidemic that afflicted Peru. As a result of poor sanitary and inadequate health conditions, cholera rapidly spread to other countries in South America. After learning about the crisis, a group of concerned San Francisco Bay Area residents, both American and Latin American, collected $2 million worth of medical supplies which were promptly shipped to the affected regions. VIDA has since extended its efforts throughout the Americas: its health assistance has reached over 2 million people in hundreds of remote and economically depressed communities in Chile, Cuba, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua and Peru.
Programs: Medical supplies: VIDA provides $16 million per year worth of medical supplies and equipment to poor communities in Latin America. These are perfectly usable supplies that, for one reason or another, would otherwise go to waste and landfills in the United States. VIDA-USA sends ocean containers to VIDA chapters in Mexico, Nicaragua and Peru as well as well-established partner organizations in other Latin American countries. The contents of the containers are then distributed for free to hundreds of health institutions and community groups that work directly with people in need who otherwise could not pay for the supplies or services. VIDA has shipped over 130 containers and 20 air lifts worth over $80 million. Puente de VIDA: designed to address the primary health care needs of low-income communities, teams of over 60 local volunteer doctors and nurses dedicate a weekend each month to provide medical consultations to destitute children and adults. In addition to seeing approximately 650 patients per visit, the medical professionals improve the quality of health care in the area by conducting seminars on topics such as basic nutrition, pre-natal care and illness prevention. Medical Missions: VIDA sponsors groups of medical professionals from France, Canada and the United States to travel to Latin America and spend several weeks treating patients as well as providing practical instruction to specialists in several health fields. Milagro de VIDA: VIDA has created a Milk Bank to provide infant formula to young HIV+ mothers at an AIDS shelter in Lima.
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