GRACE Cares’ mission is to partner with local heroes and communities on small-scale community development projects that make a difference by empowering people to improve their lives. We do this with respect to local cultures and traditions. This is accomplished by helping to build healthy, educated, just and productive communities. GRACE Cares provides expertise, funding, and support for health, education, peace and social justice, cultural preservation, and economic development projects.
Your generosity provides needed guidance and technical assistance to our projects around the world.
91 cents of every $1 donation goes directly to programs:
- $50 can educate a child for 3 months
- $100 can support health education for a whole community for 1 month
- $250 can provide water filters for 10 families
- $500 can save trees by supporting efficient stoves for 10 families
Mayan Traditional Healers – Heroes in their Communities
When we co-founded GRACE Cares in 2002 we had no idea how much of an impact that a small group of public health professionals and other volunteers could make by partnering with local heroes. We just returned from Guatemala where we had the honor to meet a group of 15 Mayan traditional healers –curanderos – living in the remote and impoverished highlands. Beset by poverty and the lack of government services, this area is reliant largely on the Mayan healers, and the healers provide the majority of health care for their communities.
In 2011 GRACE Cares Board Member Ellen Eiseman was in Guatemala City for a meeting. She met a dynamic Guatemalan doctor who also had a Master’s degree in Social Anthropology. Dr. Anabella Perez was inspired by a group of Mayan healers in a remote area south of Lake Atitlan. She met them while working on a project to integrate Mayan traditional healing with western medicine. Anabella was struck by their dedication to their patients and how they had formed a group so that they could work together to serve their community. Mayan healers serve their patients without fixed fees, only what the patients can afford, so it is a work of love. They wanted to record their tradition and find a way to serve their community at less cost to them and their patients.
See the start-to-finish transformation and learn more about Mayan Traditional Healers, here.
On behalf of the healers, most of whom did not go to school and most of whom spoke Kaqchikel, not Spanish, Dr. Perez wrote a proposal to GRACE Cares to develop a documentary about the healers.
This year the healers were able to that with the volunteer help of Dr. Perez and also Venancia Dionisio Velasques. Venancia is a Mayan woman who is both a traditional healer and a trained social worker, who is working on a book about Mayan traditional healing plants. She has dedicated herself to coordinating the work of the healers. Our hope is to help integrate this local knowledge, with modern herbalism, and in cooperation with the Mayan healers strengthen their work. Aspects we hope to help are improved knowledge of nutrition, clean water, health promotion, and how to effectively combine Mayan healing with some western healing modalities.
We have always been inspired by the Margret Mead quote: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”
The story of GRACE Cares embodies that quote; we provide needed partnerships. Through the efforts of volunteers in Guatemala, the US and Sweden; a remote community in Guatemala now has better traditional medical services.A board member has offered a matching grant of up to $5,000 help us continue to expand this program for another 3 years. Help this group of Healers by donating now!With this funding support, we can nurture and build on this traditional medicine of the Mayan Indians.
Dr. Zoe Kopp PhD, MPH
Dr. T. Namaya DSci, MIA, MSN, FNP
Video of the 2015 volunteer trip to help Project Hearts:
For more information send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sergio Garcia, Treasurer, GRACE Cares
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