Help Keep Women's Health Clinic Open
12,000 US Dollars will keep the clinic running for one full year.
Please read on to find out more about these programs and how you can make a difference.
About Me :: I believe in "Activism through Everyday Choice"
I'm Sheila from Vermont, USA, and I decided to simplify my lifestyle and to bicycle around the world with my partner, in large part, to create a life better aligned with my values - a life that would allow me to focus my energy on local and global issues that are important to me. I don't have much money to give to organizations whose missions I believe in but I am able to offer my time and skills to help them meet their goals. By volunteering my services as I travel I learn more about the local culture, about the community's struggles and their accomplishments, and I gain friendships that last a lifetime. I am currently traveling through and volunteering in Mexico.
Me cycling through Baja California, Mexico.
My Original Volunteer Project :: The Health Center
This year, for International Women's Day and in honor of all the women around the world that help to empower others, I decided to volunteer my time to a local women's health clinic.
The non-profit clinic I am volunteering with, Centro de Desarrollo Jocotepec (CEDEJO), located in Ajijic, Jalisco, Mexico, has provided care to indigenous and low-income women and families in the area for over 30 years. Twice a week CEDEJO offers pap smears and breast examinations, as well as family planning counseling, to one of the poorest and most vulnerable barrios in Jalisco through a program CEDEJO manages and administors in their clinic space located in the Tepehua Community Center in Chapala. In addition, CEDEJO's Ajijic-based clinic accepts clients three days a week and leads educational programs through a variety of community organizations, schools and forums.
CEDEJO's headquarters and office in Ajijic, Jalisco, Mexcio.
After meeting with the Director of CEDEJO I realized I could best help by increasing CEDEJO's visibility online and updating their informational material. This is what I've been working on:
> Designing a new Website for CEDEJO
> Implementing an online donation function on their website
> Training staff on how to update/maintain the website
> Designing an updated Informational Pamphlet for CEDEJO (to replace their original from 1986)
> Designing new Logos and Headers for CEDEJO
> Visiting the CEDEJO clinics & workshops during business hours to take photographs for the new website and pamphlet (my partner, Kai, helped with this)
> Editing & providing all photos to CEDEJO for future use
> Creating a Facebook Page for CEDEJO
> Creating a Twitter Account for CEDEJO
I'm happy to report that most (1/2014 NOW ALL) of the items above have been accomplished. The photos have been taken, the website is live and we're in the final stages of editing the pamphlet and getting the online donation function working. However, while spending time working on this project I came to realize that CEDEJO is in danger of losing funding for some of it's most critical programs - programs that many women and families depend upon.
THE NEED IS URGENT
There used to be three women's health clinics around Lake Chapala, run by the amazing director and registered nurse, Sylvia Flores, but over the years, grants and funding have slowly dried up and forced the doors of two to close. Today, only the one clinic in Ajijic remains open, despite the fact that there is an extreme need for CEDEJO's services. In addition, the funding that supports the free services (pap smears, exams, pre-natal care, family planning counseling) that the staff and volunteers of CEDEJO provide two days a week through a space provided to them by the Tepehua Community Center is ending at the end of August 2013. These programs are critical to keeping the girls and women of Jalisco healthy and safe.
Sylvia Flores greeting women lined up to receive services at the clinic she provides twice a week in a space provided by the Tepehua Community Center.
WHY DO WE NEED TO KEEP CEDEJO CLINIC OPEN?
Cervical and breast cancer are the leading causes of death among women from ages 35 to 60 in Chapala, Jalisco. CEDEJO is working to prevent these diseases, as well as other diseases, from affecting women through early detection and treatment programs.
Because of poverty and/or lack of education and/or failure of government assistance programs, many women cannot afford to see a nurse or doctor for a routine gynecological exam or prenatal care. In 2012, CEDEJO's free clinical program at the Tephua Community Center space performed 350 pap smears. 280 of the women had to be treated for STDs. Of the 350 breast exams performed, 30 women were referred to Guadalajara for mammograms.
Jalisco has the highest rates of violence against women in Mexico, with 60% of women having experienced violence by the hands of their partner. In 2012, 780 women attended counseling sessions or workshops about combating domestic violence and family planning. CEDEJO offers presentations, workshops and lectures through schools and other organizations in which the following topics are discussed: sexuality,STDs, prenatal care and childbirth, family planning, risks of teen pregnancy, hygiene and health and women's empowerment.
Meeting with clients in CEDEJO's free clinic at the TCC:
Exam Rooms at the clinic in the TCC space:
MY FUNDRAISING GOAL
My goal is to help keep the doors of CEDEJO's clinics open to women and families of this community who deserve access to these vital health care services.
WHAT THE FUNDS WILL BE USED FOR
Funds raised will go toward covering the bare minimum needed to keep the clinics open, which include the following:
**pap kits for 1200-1400 women for one year
**lab fees for processing pap tests for one year
**transporting pap tests from Chapala/Ajijic to Gaudalajara lab 2 times a month, every month, for one year
**operating costs to keep clinics open at the very least 2 days a week, every week, for one year
**transportation costs (via car pool or bus) of unpaid nursing staff and/or volunteers to the CEDEJO free clinic, 2 times a week, every week, for one year
**replacing or replenishing additional medical supplies needed to perform pap smears (i.e. patient examination gowns, sterilization equipment)
**coverage of numerous workshops to youth and women's groups in Ajijic and Chapala (family planning, STDs, women's empowerment)
**printing of newly designed informational pamphlets used in clinics and workshops (replaces the current pamphlet used which was last updated/printed in 1986)
Funds raised above the $12000 needed for the clinic costs for one year will go toward CEDEJO's "Women, Power & Life" project of 2013/2014, in which CEDEJO's Director will guide four local women in expanding CEDEJO's workshop programs. The women will attend the "National Congress of Sexology and Sexual Education FEMESS 2013" conference to receive specialized training on leading workshops that help empower women and young girls, to educate them about their reproductive rights and their right to live free of violence and to promote gender equality. The first pilot workshops for this program are tentatively scheduled to take place in a space provided by the Tepehua Community Center in early 2014. CEDEJO hopes to raise funding in the future to be able to expand their workshop program to community centers in San Cristobal, San Juan Cosala, Chapala, and Ajijic.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
I hope that others will see the value of CEDEJO's clinics and the services it offers and that you will find it in your heart to do one or more of the following:
GIVE A DONATION.
Match what I've donated in volunteer time and energy to the clinic in pesos or dollars and cents. Donate what you would normally spend on a co-pay to visit your gynecologist or your doctor. Make a memorial donation in the name of someone you've lost to breast or cervical cancer. ***PLEASE NOTE:: LOCALS CAN GIVE DONATIONS DIRECTLY TO THE CLINIC, TO ME OR DEPOSIT DONATIONS IN TO THE CEDEJO BANK ACCOUNT TO AVOID THE ONLINE PROCESSING FEES. SEE CEDEJO'S WEBSITE FOR MORE INFORMATION.
CHALLENGE EACH OTHER.
NEIGHBORS, CO-WORKERS, BUSINESSES, CIVIC GROUPS, CHURCHES, or OTHER ORGANIZATIONS in the Lake Chapala area or around the world :: Consider donating 13,000 pesos or more (~$1000 US or more) to this fundraising effort and then challenge another organization or group to match your donation. By pooling our limited resources, we can make a huge difference without putting undue stress on one particular funding source.
SPREAD THE WORD.
SHARE THIS PAGE WITH FAMILY & FRIENDS. Even if you're unable to give a donation, please share this page on Facebook, Twitter, via email or by word of mouth. This makes a HUGE DIFFERENCE to the success of this fundraising campaign.
THANK YOU FOR TAKING THE TIME TO REVIEW THIS FUNDRAISING PAGE!
There is a 5% fee taken out of your donation amount to cover the Go Fund Me administrative costs of processing your online payment. Please consider covering this cost when you make your donation (every little bit helps).
All Donations go directly to the non-profit organization, the Centro de Desarrollo Jocotepec (CEDEJO), to provide services as outlined.
Help us secure 33,000 pesos! If you give a donation through our new campaign site (see above) by March 3rd, 2015, a generous anonymous donor will match your donation (up to 16,500 pesos).
Be the FIRST to donate to our new campaign : www.gofundme.com/helpCEDEJO Every peso counts!
Before closing out this campaign I'd like to give you a review of what CEDEJO has been doing behind the scenes in 2014 to try to secure long-term funding, how they have expanded their outreach and programs (all realized through volunteers) and how each of us can continue to support their work and ensure that the clinic remains open through 2015.
CELEBRATING CEDEJO SUCCESSES
Besides raising funds to keep the clinic open for the last year (thank you!), CEDEJO also realized a new website (cedejo.org), a new informational pamphlet, a FLICKR account to showcase current photos of their work, a Facebook page, a Twitter account and some press coverage that helped spread the word about their work.
In addition to operating the clinic in Ajijic and providing the free clinic in Tepehua twice a week, CEDEJO also successfully completed an all-volunteer-run (by Mexicana women) pilot project aptly named ‘Mujeres, Poder y Vida’ (‘Women, Power and Life’), which provided over 60 sessions of comprehensive women’s empowerment workshops to the Tepehua community. CEDEJO would like to, eventually, secure funding to continue to offer the empowerment workshops and to expand them to include several other communities around Lakeside.
Another success was the realization of CEDEJO Director's long-time dream of outfitting a mobile health unit in order to be able to visit & provide services to the most vulnerable communities around Lake Chapala. Generous anonymous donors have provided a van for CEDEJO to use twice a week for this purpose and, in preparation, Director Flores has begun driving through various communities advertising (via loudspeaker, of course) her schedule and the services to be provided.
You can find out more about the programs above and other CEDEJO news by visiting & subscribing to their blog page, found here: http://www.cedejo.org/news
MAKING NEW CONNECTIONS
As a result of CEDEJO's outreach efforts last year, new connections were made that will likely benefit CEDEJO in the future. For example, CEDEJO’s Director and volunteers met with UK representatives of the CRED Foundation while they were visiting Mexico in 2014. These productive meetings led to a partnership with the CRED Foundation which is slated to begin in late 2015. This partnership will potentially facilitate CEDEJO’s fundraising efforts in 2016 and beyond.
CEDEJO also met with visiting representatives from Horizons, a Canadian based non-profit organization committed to promoting social justice and people-centered development in Central America and Mexico. Horizons and CEDEJO are currently in the preliminary stages of exploring possible partnership opportunities.
Lastly, CEDEJO spent many hours in 2014 meeting with numerous officials in Guadalajara and applying for a variety of Mexican government grant programs. CEDEJO hopes these meetings and their efforts will result in some fruitful outcomes.
HOWEVER, TODAY THE NEED IS STILL VERY CRITICAL
Although CEDEJO has been working hard to secure long-term funding opportunities, their efforts have not yet produced the funds needed to cover expenses for 2015. Unfortunately, CEDEJO is in the same precarious position its been in for the last seventeen months -- operating from month-to-month on whatever individual donations they receive. It is only through the generosity of individual donors, like you, that CEDEJO remains open and is able to provide services to the women & girls of Lakeside.
THUS BEGINS MY 2015 CAMPAIGN TO KEEP CEDEJO OPEN
To help get CEDEJO through the next year and to a point in which they can realize some funding through other avenues, I've created a new fundraising campaign for 2015 ( http://www.gofundme.com/helpcedejo). My hope is that we can raise the $12,000 US Dollars (~168,000 pesos) by the end of April 2015 so that CEDEJO can focus more on their day-to-day work and spend less time worrying about whether or not they'll be able to remain open from month to month.
With this in mind, and if you're able to give at this time, please consider donating via monthly recurring donations (which greatly helps CEDEJO plan ahead) and/or by offering a Match Challenge of 14,000 pesos or more (which provides others an incentive to give).
Or if you don't have a lot of money to give (like me), perhaps start your own personal fundraising campaign. For example, you could ask family & friends to donate money to CEDEJO in lieu of a birthday, anniversary or holiday gift. Or you could plan a regular lunch or dinner date with a group of friends and match what you each spend on the meal as a donation to CEDEJO.
I thank you in advance for whatever form of support you can offer. Every peso helps.
To read more about the new campaign or to donate, please visit:
Or you can visit CEDEJO's website to donate via PayPal:
Thank you so much for helping to keep CEDEJO open through 2014! And thank you so much for all that you do to ensure women and girls receive access to family planning and preventative care.
With Much Gratitude & Hope for a Better Future,
P.S. This page will remain publicly visible in to the foreseeable future but, as of today, you will no longer have the option to donate via this page. Please visit my 2015 campaign page at www.gofundme.com/helpCEDEJO to read about CEDEJO's current status and/or to donate to keep the clinic open through 2015. Thank you!
In August 2013 I began this campaign with a goal of raising $12,000 USD (~165,000 pesos) in 12 months. Seventeen months later, through the generosity of world-wide donors, we have raised over $13,000 USD (~178,000 pesos) which allowed the clinic to remain open through December 2014. CEDEJO would not be operational without your help & generosity. Thank you!
CEDEJO created an OUR DONORS page on their website to honor and thank each and every one of you. In addition, as a part of my campaign promise, I also honored donors that gave over $100 US Dollars in an ad that posted in the January 2015 issue of the Ojo del Lago (see attached photo). From the bottom of my heart, I thank each of you for spreading the word about this campaign and for every single peso/dollar you gave. CEDEJO and I are very grateful for you.
A FINAL UPDATE -- THE FUTURE OF CEDEJO
Tomorrow I will post my final update for this campaign. I will share the successes of the last year, what the future of CEDEJO holds and how we can all help to ensure the clinic continues to remain open through 2015.
For now, I just want to extend my gratitude for CEDEJO and for all of you. THANK YOU!!!!! MUCHAS GRACIAS!!!!
However, the funding we've raised to date only covered up through May of 2014. For the last few months CEDEJO's director and volunteers have been making up the difference and paying for supplies and services out of their own pockets. I can attest to the fact that they do not have the money to continue to do this on their own. But they cannot bear to stop providing critical services to women and girls, especially after all the time they've taken to build up trust with them.
CEDEJO has been meeting behind the scenes with potential long-term funding sources (both governmental and international foundations) and have been working very hard to create partnerships which will (hopefully) begin to bring in some long-term funding in late 2015. I plan to share the news about these partnerships as they unfold - there are some exciting possibilities on the horizon! However, the funding through these sources will not be generated until late 2015.
CEDEJO and the women and girls of the Lake Chapala community need us to help today. I'm really hoping that our community (both local and global) can pull together once more to help support this women's clinic until they can secure more long-term funding options.
I discovered the attached video when I was searching for potential international funding sources for CEDEJO's programs. When I watched it I was moved to tears because it exemplifies so well what I've witnessed Sylvia Flores and CEDEJO volunteers deal with on a daily basis. The film is made in Guatemala but when I shared it with Sylvia and the other volunteers they said, "This is how it is for all of Mexico as well....".
And one volunteer said "...it made me realize the true importance of our call. I feel grateful for the place I'm in and for the opportunity to do something. It brought meaning, once again, for the everyday effort and reminded me not to forget the essence of our work...."
Can each of us now, in CEDEJO's time of need, recognize we're in a place and have an opportunity to do something? Can we support CEDEJO's work and the positive effects it has on the larger community and the world? Please, help today if you can. Give any amount you are able to give. And if you are unable to give money, please share this call with others that can. Your time, energy and support are very much appreciated!
Gracias a nuestros donantes de cada mes es importante para continuar el ctrabajo con las familias de bajos recursos Gracias
Sheila sin tu ayuda este proyecto se hubiera cortado por falta de fondos y las beneficiarias mujeres de bajos recursos de Chapala no contarían con servicios de calidad y profesionalismo gracias por tu compromiso y lealtad a la organización
Feliz Ao a todas y todos nuestros amigos que han ayudado con su donation para continuar dando servicios de Salud a las mujeres de bajos recursos
Gracias a todos y todas por el apoyo para continuar este proyecto gracias por ser parte de un cambio para las mujeres y sus familias,
Thank you so much to those who have supported this campaign so far - both your sharing of this page and your donations mean so much to the women and families of Chapala/Ajijic.