Primeros Pasos aims to improve the quality of life of the rural communities of the Palajunoj Valley of Quetzaltenango, Guatemala, through integrated health education programs and access to medical services.
Primeros Pasos is a small, primary care health clinic located in the rural Palajunoj Valley just 15 minutes outside of Quetzaltenango, Guatemala by bus, serving as the only reliable source of healthcare in the entire valley as it is the only clinic equipped with doctors, dentists, a laboratory as well as a pharmacy. Primeros Pasos is a non-profit, independent organization with a comprehensive outlook on health care. With the collaboration of health professionals, health educators, volunteers, and community leaders, Primeros Pasos offers quality and affordable healthcare as well as health education to the rural, underserved communities of the Palajunoj Valley of Quetzaltenango, Guatemala. Primeros Pasos incorporates and combines clinical care, health education, and community outreach programs to effectively provide preventative and primary care.
In addition to offering medical, laboratory, and dental services to 4,500 walk-in patients every year, Primeros Pasos is the only clinic in the predominantly Maya-Quiche indigenous Palajunoj Valley that also tackles greater underlying health and social issues in the Palajunoj Valley—chronic malnutrition, respiratory infections, skin diseases and the epidemic of gastrointestinal parasitic infections that affects 95% of the population—through both extensive year-long Nutrition Recuperation and Education programs. Through the Healthy Schools Project that includes the 10 primary schools and 7 daycare centers of the Palajunoj Valley, Primeros Pasos provides free medical and dental healthcare to 4,067 children through mobile clinics as well as "healthy field trips" to the clinic which also involves interactive health education workshops focused on parasite infection prevention, basic hygiene, nutrition, the environment, self-esteem, domestic violence, drug addiction, and reproductive health. Each child goes home with free medication, a toothbrush, and a bar of soap. In addition, the Nutritional Recuperation Project supports chronically malnourished children and their mothers as well as pregnant women by providing medical and nutritional treatment together with health education, in turn improving family health and promoting healthy homes in the Palajunoj Valley.
All volunteers are expected to be willing to work hard as well as actively participate and contribute to the mission of Primeros Pasos of providing quality healthcare and educational services to the communities of the Palajunoj Valley. Volunteers will be walking/hiking throughout the breathtaking rural communities of the Palajunoj Valley as well as providing support to the quality management of each program through curriculum development as well as program monitoring and evaluation. Ideal volunteers are flexible, open-minded, and sensitive to the ideals, traditions, and beliefs of the people with whom they work with. All volunteers must be at least 18 years of age. For every application, we consider the applicant's volunteer and academic history, Spanish level, and enthusiasm.
As is a non-profit organization that receives no government support, Primeros Pasos is able to operate solely on the generosity of volunteers, faithful donors, and grant obtainment. Thus, Primeros Pasos kindly asks all volunteers for a donation of $250USD. Volunteers can provide this donation out of pocket, however, Primeros Pasos encourages volunteers to fundraise the donation so that more people learn about the organization! Proving to be very easy and successful, volunteers can create their own personalized profile on the Primeros Pasos donation platform already equipped with Primeros Pasos information and video as well as find more donating information on the website http:www.stayclassy.org/events/primeros-pasos-fundraising/e2190. Additionally, volunteers are welcomed to make in-kind donations, such as medicines, medical supplies, soap, toothbrushes, etc. Please contact the Volunteer Coordinator (firstname.lastname@example.org) for a complete supplies list.