After suffering devastating blows, Aguadilla’s community hospital rises again

Hurricane María peeled the plaster off the wall of the Buen Samaritano Community Hospital in Aguadilla, ripped the air conditioning conduits on the roof and clogged the drainage pipes, which flooded the first floor of the hospital and damaged three of the hospital’s elevators. That would not be the worst the hospital would endure. Despite

Caring for people with severe disabilities during and after a major disaster

As they prepared for the second hurricane in a month, the designated staff of the Instituto Psicopedagógico were supposed to stay 12 hours to care for 88 special needs residents as Hurricane Maria made its way through Puerto Rico.  They ended up staying 72 hours to feed and care for the residents. “It was an

A catastrophe moves a nonprofit organization to go beyond its core misison

They were never meant to rebuild or build homes.  As a young foundation, VOCES, Fundación Topy Mamery was focused on providing music and art therapy to children removed from their homes who were living in shelters.  Then, Hurricane María hit and many of the homes where they provided their services suffered severe damages.  And, then

Mobilizing disaster response for community health needs

A red flag immediately came up when volunteer doctors treating members of an isolated community in Utuado realized an inordinate number of patients had gone without their high blood medication for months after Hurricane María. To their dismay they also found that diabetics were not on their medications. “There was surprise and concern,” explained Dr.

Proyecto Nacer: Helping teenagers form healthy families

Maria’s powerful winds tore through the roof of Proyecto Nacer, the only organization with a holistic program for teenage parents in Puerto Rico and their families, exposing the interior to incessant rain. Right after Hurricane María, the nonprofit organization founded in 2000 expanded its mission by helping surrounding communities of Bayamón, Naranjito, Toa Alta and

Legal aid to help in recovery efforts

As thousands of residents filed for emergency aid under the Federal Emergency Management Administration(FEMA) after suffering heavy losses due to Hurricane Maria, many saw their hopes dashed when their pleas for aid were rejected. The federal agency deemed they had insufficient proof to indicate they had title to their property. Although official numbers indicate around

The proposal submission phase to request funds for Unidos por Puerto Rico ends

United for Puerto Rico informs that it will no longer accept grant proposals after April 30, 2018. As of April 19, the Board of Directors of Untied for Puerto Rico has awarded $25.8 million to 133 NGOs for 145 initiatives that address relief and recovery efforts in Puerto Rico after Hurricanes Irma and María. There

Enabling sustainable fishing and the livelihood of 20 fishermen in Naguabo

For 23 years, Carlos Velázquez lived off the sea, mostly diving for lobster and conch off the east coast of Puerto Rico. Hurricane Maria changed that for him and 26 other  members of the Villa Pesquera of Naguabo, one of the largest producers in Puerto Rico in an industry that is small and that over

Three NGOS provide a lifeline to small businesses

In the weeks following Maria, with no power, no telecommunication services and no reliable water in Puerto Rico, one of the bleakest projections in the media was that 4 out of 10 businesses would never reopen their doors. “As we were designing the model for distributing aid soon after United for Puerto Rico was created

Healing through stories

When Hurricane María destroyed all possibility of hosting the Festival de la Palabra in early October, a gathering featuring Hispanic writers with events for the public and at schools, Mayra Santos-Febres, the creator of the festival and an author herself, was distraught. Months of work had seemingly been blown away. Yet, not long after the