WINGS BLOG

15 Stories 15 Anniversary
For 15 years, WINGS has been guided by a dedicated group of individuals who’ve chosen to support WINGS with their time, knowledge, skills, and financial contributions. WINGS’ Board of Directors, comprised of physicians, international development experts, communications experts and nonprofit professionals, just to name a few, ensures that WINGS is always working towards achieving our mission and vision.

WINGS Board 2015

Hear directly from several board members their motivation for supporting WINGS:

sue-wheeler“WINGS was founded in response to the expressed wishes of seven courageous Guatemalan women who wanted to take charge of their reproductive lives and better provide for their existing children. That set us on the right path of actively listening to the young people, women and men we serve, to understand their reproductive health wishes and create lasting ways to make them come true. We have remained true to that path, while pushing ourselves toward continuous improvement through honest self-examination. This is a recipe for success, in my view, and the reason I have supported WINGS from the beginning and served on their Board over the last ten years. It is a privilege to be part of this organization!”
– Sue Wheeler, Board Member since 2006, Board President from 2011-2013. Non-profit Leadership and Organizational Coach.

 

marilyn“Having worked in the international reproductive health field for 30 years, with much of that time focused on programs in Latin America, I was drawn to WINGS as an organization where I could contribute my experience and expertise in a meaningful way. WINGS’ approach offers personalized high quality reproductive health care to youth, women, and men in Guatemalan communities where such services are extremely limited or unavailable. As a local organization staffed largely by Guatemalan professionals and trained community members, WINGS’ commitment to its clients is rooted in a shared understanding of the culture and community values. This sets WINGS apart from many other organizations in Guatemala and in other Central American countries.”
– Marilyn Edmunds
, Board Member since 2014. Global Health and Fundraising Expert.


lynn“There are so many important issues to address in today’s world and so many deserving organizations. For me, investing in family planning is a way to have an impact in so many different areas – improving maternal and child health, empowerment of women and girls, keeping girls in school, protecting the environment, and contributing to economic development. And investing in WINGS is a sure bet for making progress in all of these areas through its inspirational and dedicated efforts to fulfill the rights of Guatemalan women, men and youth to high-quality and accessible family planning services. By giving WINGS my support, I know that I am helping to build a better world, one satisfied client at a time.”
– Lynn Bakamjian, Board Member since 2012, Board President 2014-2016. Global Health Consultant.

 
tonia“I joined the board four years ago. I have been involved in reproductive rights since my first job out of graduate school with the international division of Planned Parenthood Federation of America.  Since 1979, I have worked around the world to strengthen the management of local family planning organizations. These organizations, working locally with international funds, provide reproductive health and family planning services to low income families.  International donors, however, place restrictions on their funding.  They generally have other goals (such as population control, reduction in immigration, political stability) that are sometimes in conflict with the needs of the communities in which these organizations work. WINGS is an exception.
I am proud to be a part of this extraordinary organization. It is run by Guatemalans. It accepts funds only if they support the mission of the organization, precluding large bilateral assistance. WINGS provides quality services in an environment of privacy and deep respect for clients. Nurses and promoters speak the language of their clients.”– Tonia Papke, Board Member since 2013, Board Treasurer 2013-2016. Non-profit Financial Consultant.

Over the past 15 years, WINGS has educated and counseled 216,332 women, men and youth on family planning, screened 50,278 women for cervical cancer, and prevented 1,269 child and 82 maternal deaths. All this is only made possible by the continued support of WINGS’ friends, followers, and donors.

Why do you support WINGS? Leave your answer in the comments section below!

Feel inspired by our Board Members’ testimonials? Support WINGS’ year-end campaign so that we can reach even more low income, rural, indigenous Guatemalans in 2017. Please follow this link to read more and make a tax-deductible year-end contribution and help by spreading the word with your friends and family!

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Ana Isabel is a 31-year-old mother of three from the rural community Pueblo Viejo. She spends her days caring for her home and children, while her husband works in the fields. Ana Isabel had her first child, a baby girl, at the age of 20. It was an unplanned pregnancy, as she knew almost nothing about family planning methods at that time.

Back then, this wasn’t talked about. I don’t know why; but even our parents didn’t talk to us about it. And on the occasions when our parents did talk about these topics, they would ask us to leave the room or they would send us somewhere else where we couldn’t hear anything. We were told that it was adult stuff, so they refused to talk about it.”

After her first pregnancy, Ana Isabel started to hear a bit more about contraceptives from other people in her community. But all the information made her believe contraceptives were dangerous.

I heard about birth control, but I was afraid to use it because people told me that it caused diseases. I was also told that it would dry up my cervix and that I wouldn’t be able to have kids after, so I got scared.”

Eventually, after her third child Ana Isabel began using the 3-month injection to plan her family and continued using that method until recently, when she decided she wanted to have another child.

A woman in Ana Isabel’s community told her that WINGS’ mobile medical team would be offering a family planning and cervical cancer prevention mobile clinic in their community. Ana Isabel decided to attend and undergo a cervical cancer screening. She shared, “…the reason I wanted to get a cervical cancer screening was that I can’t manage to get pregnant, and I would love to have another baby.” Ana Isabel admitted that before the mobile clinic, she didn’t actually know what cervical cancer was, but thought she might have some illness and maybe WINGS could help. “Sometimes, because of ignorance, we don’t know what goes on inside us, and we can’t afford getting a checkup. So, when a mobile clinic comes here, we have to take advantage of it because it helps us. We can’t go to hospitals because it would be too expensive, and here, we don’t have the means to afford those services.”

Ana Isabel at WINGS' clinic

Thankfully, the results of Ana Isabel’s cervical cancer screening were negative. WINGS’ nurses did detect a common sexually transmitted infection during the exam, and gave Ana Isabel counseling and treatment for herself and her husband. WINGS’ mobile team are happy to have provided reproductive health services for Ana Isabel, which she could not afford elsewhere. Ana Isabel left well-informed about her personal health and with the reassurance that she did not have cervical cancer.

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WINGS’ Mobile Units travel to many remote, rural communities each month to provide long-acting reversible contraception and cervical cancer prevention services. We put every effort into reaching Guatemalans who normally don’t have access to these services. We dispel myths about contraceptives and raise awareness of cervical cancer and the importance of regular screenings. Each clinic brings women the power to control their reproductive health and lives. It is thanks to your support that we can continue reaching even further. Support our year-end campaign Reaching the Unreachable this December to help.

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