HELPS International, headquartered in Addison, Texas, and with an office in Guatemala, has named Dallas-based TrizCom Public Relations as its agency of record.
“We are pleased to partner with TrizCom Public Relations to help share our story,” says Bill McMillan, executive director of HELPS International. “We’ve been touched by so many of the people we have served and look forward to sharing their stories of success with a much wider audience. HELPS International is working every day to expand the reach and impact of our programs to improve more lives, and this partnership will help us achieve our goals.”
Since its formation in 1984, HELPS International’s growing community of volunteers, supporters and staff has changed millions of lives in Guatemala. The nonprofit provides enduring programs of practical, social and spiritual value to people in the developing world through a system of partnerships and mutual responsibility. To address the root causes of poverty in Guatemala, the nonprofit has developed a unique integrated approach with programs in four key areas: agriculture, community development, education, and health care. Some specific ways that HELPS International benefits the Guatemalan community are:
Today, three out of four Guatemalans live below the poverty line. Most hardworking people struggle to meet their families’ basic needs. Poverty is especially devastating in rural indigenous communities. In these villages, where food production is the foundation of the economy, eight in ten children are chronically malnourished. In partnership with agricultural industry leaders like Disagro and Mosaic, HELPS International connects smallholder farmers with the resources they need to build wealth and stability for their families and their communities. With expert training, new technologies and unsubsidized loans, participating farming communities can now produce a crop yield up to 300 percent greater.
Rural Guatemalans face health risks every day, in their own homes and schools. The open fires traditionally used for cooking inside homes lead to devastating respiratory problems and severe burns. At especially high risk are children under the age of five, for whom acute respiratory infection is the leading cause of death. Meanwhile, with 60 percent of disease in Guatemala waterborne, millions lack access to clean drinking water. HELPS International works across Guatemala to improve infrastructure with a line of high-quality, low-cost products designed and tested to meet the needs of rural families. The use of the ONIL stove and water filter are making homes safer and healthier. Together with the help of partners like Cementos Progreso, HELPS is dramatically reducing these health risks and cutting the time Guatemalan families spend collecting firewood. Last year, 202 volunteers from the United States joined nearly 200 volunteers from Guatemala to install 5,512 ONIL stoves and 7,031 ONIL water filters in homes and schools.
Today, two million children in Guatemala, a majority of them girls, don’t attend school. More than 60 percent of the indigenous population cannot read or write, and most children will only receive four years of formal education. In response to the education crisis in their own community, a group of elders and mothers in the remote Guatemalan village of Santa Avelina called on HELPS to launch a primary school over 20 years ago. HELPS International volunteers answered that call by establishing the William M. Botnan School, a one-of-a-kind primary school where best practices in teaching meet respect for local language and culture. With the effective teachers, safe classrooms, high parental involvement and quality supplies they need, more than 180 students are mastering skills and knowledge that will help them lead their communities out of poverty.
Millions of Guatemalans don’t have access to quality health care. With only one doctor for every thousand residents and severely limited medical care in rural areas, persistent health crises threaten the country’s progress. Maternal and infant mortality, malnutrition, communicable diseases, parasites and diabetes levels are high, especially in indigenous communities. HELPS International works to fill the gaps in health care and bring hope to rural areas of Guatemala. With a network of U.S.-based volunteer medical teams, the nonprofit provides preventive care, surgery and community education to those who need it most. Each team is made up of several dozen physicians, nurses and support staff who travel to remote areas with limited access to health care. In 2016, more than 600 medical volunteers traveled with HELPS International to provide vital care in rural Guatemala.
To date, HELPS International’s volunteers and supporters have worked alongside the people of Guatemala to provide more than 275,000 patients with preventive health care, more than 250,000 homes with clean air and water, more than 4,000 farming families with the skills and resources to boost crop production, and nearly 475 students with a high-quality education.
“We are honored to join forces with HELPS International as the nonprofit’s agency of record,” says Jo Trizila, president of TrizCom PR. “They bring a very unique focus compared to other nonprofits because they are fighting poverty with an integrated approach that addresses its root causes with sustainable solutions. We look forward to sharing the stories of those they serve in order to increase their outreach and capabilities.”