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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.

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

Suchitepeguez Mayan Traditional Healer Cooperative – March 2016

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.

Ellen Eiseman, founding Board Member of GRACE Cares, receives a gift from the Mayan Healers she has helped since 2011 but has never met.

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.

With help from some volunteer students from Sweden – Carolina Wetterstad and María Arvidsson – and funding from Ellen Eiseman and other donors, a documentary was completed.  Next, Dr. Perez, worked with the healers to develop a proposal to establish a cooperative to bulk-buy medical supplies so that the healers and their patient could have more affordable supplies.

Grace Care’s Founder, Zoe Kopp and Dr. Anabella Perez, Project Director meet for first time in March 2016 after working together since 2011.

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.

You can view Medicine, the Eternal Aspect of Mayan Culture at: http://www.gracecares.org/guatemala/.

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.

GRACE Care’s co-founder Namaya is presented the gift of a Mayan traditional weaving by Imaculada, a leader in the healing community.

Gratefully yours,

Dr. Zoe Kopp PhD, MPH
Dr. T Namaya  DSci, MIA, MSN, FNP
Should I put here the board member names?

Volunteer in the Dominican Republic November 10-16, 2016
Last year I co-led a volunteer trip to help Project Hearts, a GRACE Cares project, in the Dominican Republic. Endpoint Outcomes, a Boston based business, decided to hold its strategic planning meeting and team building while volunteering to install a water tank and put in a cement floor working alongside citizens of Baitoa. The group then relaxed on the North Coast of the Dominican Republic.
I recommend this trip highly to individuals, school, church or business groups. If you are interested in joining us this year November 10-16, take a look at this short video that I made of the trip.

https://vimeo.com/165504705

For more information send an email to: info@gracecares.org.
Yours,
Sergio Garcia, Treasurer, GRACE Cares

PS – Are you an Amazon regular? Use Amazon Smile and Amazon will automatically donate to GRACE Cares every time you shop! It’s free and easy, and it adds up to real support.