The work of our education and health care promoters is the heart of our projects. These local women visit homes, schools, and villages to encourage healthier lifestyles among families. The promotoras come from the area Vamos Adelante serves and know the affiliated families well. They have been trained through Vamos Adelante and have also received scholarships to simultaneously pursue their own education. Our promoters are leaders within their communities and thus hold an unparalleled level of trust and respect among the families they work with.
The Health Promotoras
Health promoters gather with local women in their own backyards or in the shade of a tree to hold weekly health and hygiene workshops on issues such as childhood illnesses, general hygiene at home, dental care, nutrition and family planning. They treat minor health problems and distribute soap, tooth brushes and other toiletries to support families who are striving to maintain healthy practices in their homes. Promotoras encourage boiling/chlorinating/filtering their drinking water and keeping their houses tidy. They accompany patients to hospitals and different private clinics as needed, especially in complicated medical cases.
All promoters conduct weekly informational sessions about nutrition, hygiene, and common illnesses. Family planning education and services are also provided with the support of the WINGS/ALAS organization, a local Antigua-based non-profit with who Vamos Adelante works cooperatively. The promoters also do spot checks and sometimes reward adherence to basic hygiene with a t-shirt or other piece of clothing. The health care promoters (whose own lives have been enriched by working with Vamos Adelante) distribute donated clothing, vitamins, blankets, basic kitchen equipment and food to the most needy. At weekly group meetings, they report back to the organization about the most pressing needs, helping us tune into new developments or opportunities.
The Education Promotoras
Education promoters visit schools and homes to check children’s progress and resolve concerns with teachers, principals and parents. They coordinate the distribution of educational materials and award scholarships to the poorest children. Often they have to help parents remember the importance of prioritizing their children’s education, an important task made particularly difficult in the face of the challenges of living daily life in poverty.