At the end of the third quarter, Venezuela continues its downward spiral, but international pressure is mounting and the Government is starting to show some signs of openness to foreign aid. As always, we hope that the country will recover soon. In the meantime, we keep receiving desperate requests for help and it´s very hard for us to say no. We have decided to hire a part-time doctor in Venezuela: Andrés Ortiz will help us with the follow-up and monitoring of the projects. Dr Ortiz has proven to be a great ally by being our eyes on the ground. This quarter we have started two new programmes. We often wonder if we shouldn´t focus on fewer projects. After all, we are a small charity, run by volunteers. Again, though, it´s hard to say no. In Venezuela, money goes a long way, which means we can reach more people even if at times we are overstretched. We also think that by diversifying our support, we reduce risks. Helping hospitals, health centres and NGOs in Venezuela is crucial for the future recovery of the health sector, and we want to add our grain of sand to the reconstruction of the country.
During the third quarter, we sent 800kg (of a total of 2,600kg in 2018) of medical supplies donated by GPs and hospitals in the UK. In partnership with a Spanish NGO, Ven Da Tu Mano, we have also had access to medicines. Our geographical coverage has expanded and we are now sending much needed help to: Distrito Capital, Vargas, Lara, Zulia, Merida, Apure, Táchira, Miranda, Nueva Esparta and Guárico states.
During this past quarter, we´ve trained over 300 people from all age groups and walks of life in stress management, meditation and breathing techniques. Since we started supporting the Venezuelan branch of The Art of Living, an international NGO, we have delivered these programmes to more than 1000 people.
TEENAGE PREGNANCY PREVENTION
During 2018, we have been working with ALAPLAF, a very successful NGO in Lara State to prevent teenage pregnancy. One of our beneficiaries is a 15 years-old girl with two children. The word spread around and now, not only Lara State and not only teenagers are asking for help. During the third quarter, we ramped up our support and sent 338 coils. We are also sending testing kits for HIV, Syphilis and pregnancy