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El Programa de Jóvenes de Alas está dirigida a formar a chicos y chicas de 14 a 19 años en temas de salud reproductiva y planificación familiar, con el fin de que estos puedan hacer de portavoces en su entorno.

Queremos que esta formación sea adecuada para ellos, reforzando la teoría con actividades y dinámicas entretenidas para que algunos conceptos, que pueden ser complicados de asimilar a según que edad, se comprendan y sea más fácil para ellos de transmitir. Pero no solamente se pretende ser un espacio de formación, también es un lugar dónde los jóvenes se pueden expresar libremente, explicar sus preocupaciones de manera confidencial, resolver sus dudas en un ambiente íntimo y que de esa manera se sientan más libres con su sexualidad y sus decisiones.

Es por eso que hemos querido dedicar el blog a reforzar sus herramientas de expresión y para, que a la vez, sirva de plataforma para que todo el mundo sepa la labor que estos líderes juveniles desarrollan. Estamos muy orgullosos de nuestro Programa de Jóvenes y queremos compartir ese orgullo con todos.

unnamed (1) (1)My name is Shaili, and I have been the Development Assistant for WINGS for over a year. I was born and raised in Guatemala, but my journey at WINGS started when I was living in Minnesota and I had just graduated from college. As many college students, I had no clue what to do, but there was one thing I knew for certain; I wanted to back to my country and work at a nonprofit organization that focused on women. I was job searching on the daily, and my uncle recommended an organization that I had sadly never heard about.

I explored WINGS’ website and saw all their efforts and accomplishments and I knew I had to work there. I decided to write to the Executive Director Rodrigo Barillas, who kindly offered me an informational interview via Skype. He then had me meet with one of WINGS’ Board Members Sue Wheeler, who happened to live in the same state I was living in. I got along very well with both Sue and Rodrigo, and soon enough, I was offered a brief internship in WINGS’ M&E Department.

My adventure at WINGS then started; I arrived in Guatemala on October 21st and on the very next day, I was off to Antigua to get trained in. I traveled to several different communities in Coban to interview youth who had somehow been involved in our Youth Program. No matter how many times I have been in rural Guatemala, the reality there always shocks me. I saw what is very common in this country; dirt floors, mud houses, several malnourished children, exhausted mothers, absent fathers, and extremely high level of poverty. I had always felt very frustrated knowing people live in such dire situations, and working at WINGS gave me the satisfaction of knowing that we’re a team of people who all want to improve these communities’ lives.

I came back to Antigua and after going through an application process, I was hired as the Development Assistant for WINGS. I remember how ecstatic I was; I had never wanted a job as much as I wanted this position. It lived up to its expectations; I had the most amazing experience working with hundreds of Guatemalan women and families who were willing to change their lifestyles and rid themselves of myths regarding contraceptive methods. I loved hearing women laugh and chat, little children running around, fearless young women taking control of their reproductive health, and bold men challenging the patriarchal norms of our society.

I also deeply enjoyed working with the staff members of WINGS. These people are brave; they talk about topics that many Guatemalans would refuse to discuss, and they courageously challenge the status quo of this country for the better. I won’t forget every single person’s effort here; our drivers and nurses sometimes left the office at 4:30 AM to carry out a mobile clinic in rural Guatemala, and even though they came back exhausted, they were up and ready for the next task the next day. Within the office, everybody’s passion was evident. Day in and day out, WINGS’ staff worked endlessly doing outreach to communities and youth, crunching numbers so that our budget worked out well, doing research on best practices, monitoring and evaluating our practices, fundraising, and so much more. I have so much respect for this team and the work we do. Again, I used to feel so frustrated about my country’s situation. But now, after working with WINGS, I know that my country’s future is in the best hands possible. On a personal level, this experience and the people around me have shaped my life and future in ways I had never imagined and for that, I will be eternally grateful.

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!


In Guatemala, it is not common for men to get vasectomies. There are many taboos about vasectomies in this country; some men think they will not be able to have sex again, some think they will not be able to have an orgasm again, and many others believe reproductive health and family planning should only be a woman’s responsibility. When a man does get a vasectomy at our clinics, we like to interview them to learn more about their experience.

For the tenth story in our series 15 Stories for our 15th Anniversary, we’d like you to meet 35 year old Daniel, who was born and raised in Guatemala City. He recently moved to Antigua to start a restaurant. Daniel first heard of WINGS through a friend, and he mentioned that it became his only option when considering places to get a vasectomy at. Daniel got his vasectomy at the WINGS clinic in Antigua. Watch this short video interview to learn about why he decided to get a vasectomy and how he learned about reproductive health when he was younger.

Be sure to click on the subtitle icon so you can enjoy the video with English subtitles. The subtitle icon is the first one on the lower right corner of the video. (See green arrow below.)


Subtitle Icon

As Daniel said, getting more men involved in reproductive health can be a challenge, but at WINGS, we are already seeing changes. We have many young men in our Empowered Youth groups, we’ve witnessed many men accompanying their wives to our mobile and stationary clinics as a show of support. Just in 2016, 100 men have gotten a vasectomy through WINGS!

We’d like to thank Daniel for opening up about his very personal reasons for choosing not to have children. It is difficult to discuss mental health in a conservative country like Guatemala, where there are many judgments and prejudices surrounding this topic, so we are very grateful to Daniel for trusting us and for his courage to speak up.

Daniel, Selva and Peggy

Daniel and the two girls he’s most passionate about- Peggy and Selva


15 Stories 15 Anniversary

This month, we interviewed our Executive Director, Rodrigo Barillas. Rodrigo was born and raised in Guatemala City. He went to high school in Honduras and then came back to Guatemala for medical school. He later did a research fellowship at Harvard Medical School and The Children’s Hospital in Boston, and later got an MBA in HealthCare Management from the Complutense University in Madrid. Read on to learn about his experience both as chief and as patient of WINGS.

As a male born and raised in Guatemala City, what do families and schools usually teach boys about reproductive rights?

Nothing. Sexual reproductive health and sexual rights are not topics that one usually hears or learns about in school or in my case, not even my parents talked about that with me.

How did you learn about reproductive health and rights?

I’m guessing I started finding out about it with friends, but my real knowledge about the topic started in medical school.

In Guatemalan culture, what is the most challenging thing for men regarding reproductive rights, health, and women’s rights?

I think the idea that men need to be “macho” and that men act a certain way and women act a certain way, and that boys and girls are different. The idea that men need to prove, sexually prove their worth, I think those are big challenges for any males growing up in a country as conservative as Guatemala.

What made you interested specifically in reproductive health?

I was definitely the black sheep of my family and the black sheep with my med school colleagues. I learned about a book that was called The Contraceptive Technology that was being distributed by the World Health Organization in Guatemala. I called them up and asked for a donation, which I got. I distributed those books throughout my group of colleagues; the ones that were doing OBGYN rotation. I was called by the head of the OBGYN department and he admonished me, he told me I shouldn’t do. That sexual rights were not to be talked about. I think experiences like that opened my eyes to the idea that I needed to do something for women, especially, to have them access family planning and reproductive health services. At that age, I was having sexual relationships with a steady girlfriend and I didn’t want her to get pregnant, so it also made me seek this type of education and find alternatives.

When did you first hear about WINGS? How did you become involved with the organization?

It was in 2007, when I started working as Health Manager for USAID, for a health project called USAID Alianzas. That year, we signed a grant with WINGS and I immediately fell in love with the institution. I felt that it was doing amazing work with youth, women, cervical cancer screenings; just amazing work that needed to be done at the community level and ever since then, I’ve been involved. I was invited to become a board member, I was the first Guatemalan to become a board member when I left Usaid Alianzas in 2011, and I served for 3 years. Then, I was selected to become Executive Director.

WINGS Board 2015

Rodrigo Barillas and Board of Directors

What made you want to become Executive Director of WINGS?  Why that position?

I was alreadyRodrigo Barillas, Executive Director a board member and the position became available as our previous Executive Director resigned. My wife opened my eyes and said “Look, you are so passionate about WINGS”, so she suggested that I throw my hat in the ring. I talked to the Board President and I recused myself from the board so that I could become a candidate for the position. Two years later, here I am.

In your experience as Executive Director, is there a particular story that has moved you or inspired you at WINGS?

That’s a hard story. From users, I think every person that I’ve seen, known, and learned about inspires me. What keeps me moving and keeps me motivated and passionate about what I do, what keeps me waking up on Mondays with the same passion, as when I go home on Fridays after work, is our staff. They are just amazing. They are so committed to what we do, they are the heroes of all this. They are the ones that keep me going.

Earlier this year, you were a patient of WINGS. As a patient, what do you think of WINGS’ services? Is there anything about your experience you’d like to share?

I’m going to be biased since I am the Executive Director (laughs). I wouldn’t want anything to be different. The whole experience was great. The way that my staff treated me as a patient, the procedure, and the technical quality from our Medical Director and nurses was just amazing. To me, it was an obvious choice to have the vasectomy done in our clinic, with our staff. You have to lead by example.

How did your male friends and colleagues react to you getting a vasectomy?

Thanks to our Communications Assistant, we decided to document the whole process. No private photos were taken, but some photos were taken. We posted on Facebook and the reactions from most of my friends if not all, was positive. My friends reached out to me and said they wanted to learn more about getting a vasectomy done. One friend of mine got a vasectomy at WINGS, and another three friends got vasectomies in Guatemala City, but they were all positively surprised. A couple more friends want to get a vasectomy now.

What do you think can be done to get rid of taboos about sexual health in Guatemala?

Be open about what we talk about, how we talk about it, specifically to those who are fortunate to be educated about these topics. We need to be frank, openly talk about it, discuss issues with our youth about rising adolescent pregnancies, the problems women face when trying to access these reproductive rights, etc. It’s our obligation, we have to talk about it with the education we have. That’s going to help.

Why should people invest in WINGS?

Every cent that we invest in WINGS and every effort that we give results in better services for our population, more specifically for our women and younger girls. That’s why I invest in WINGS. I think WINGS has a huge advantage over other NGOs and it’s the fact that we provide services at the community level. More people should invest in this type of project.

What is your vision of Guatemala in the future?

My vision for Guatemala is optimistic because I think the general population is no longer asleep. I think we demand a different morality from our authorities; we aren’t just going to sit back and see them eat away our country; we are ready to take action. I think many changes are happening in the next 10 15 years. One of the biggest one is that we’re going from 51% urbanization to 75% of the population living in urbanized settings. That’s going to require a lot of planning, not just in cities, but services you provide to all these people; conversations about this will be necessary. The fact that people my age, most are more progressive than our fathers or grandparents were, I think we’re going to be empowered and we’re going to be more progressive toward individual rights rather than society vs. individuals. The world as a whole is going through a major crisis between those who have the most and those who have the least. Like the world, we will have to make big changes in our economic system. I believe in capitalism, but one with a social conscience, not one that wants to eat away and make everything more unequal. I am very optimistic. I think I, for one, want to see a better world for my children than the one I got from my parents.


Rodrigo and his babies



15 Stories 15 Anniversary

Etelvina is one of our volunteer promoters. Every day she brings information about reproductive health and access to family planning services to her local area in Santo Tomás Milpas Altas. Etelvina ensures families can make informed decisions about their reproductive rights and is transforming Guatemalan lives in the process.

However, life has been very different for her sister, Irma. Irma is 47 and has 11 children. Growing up with 12 brothers and sisters, Irma was aware of the struggles of raising a large family. However, at 16, she fell in love with a man 5 years her senior, and ran away from home after her parents refused to grant permission to marry. A year later, at 17 years old, Irma was married and had her first child. More children followed and Irma and her husband never discussed the subject of family planning. At the time, they were living in the area of Escuintla in Guatemala, where there was no information about family planning or access to birth control methods and so the family continued to grow.


“I remember by the time I had 10 children my mother asked me to think about sterilization. I thought my menopause had started and there was no need to worry about more pregnancies. But I was wrong, and soon after, I had my 11th child.” For the sake of her health, Irma and her husband decided they would not have any more children and, two hours after giving birth to her 11th child, who is now four years old, Irma had tubal ligation surgery.

Irma is quick to admit that raising such a large family has been a constant struggle. She has never felt that it possible to dedicate enough time to each of her children and providing for them economically has been a challenge. Her eldest children are now helping to support their younger siblings, six of whom are still living at home, and her husband is currently looking for employment.


Irma doesn’t want the same life for her children, and is extremely proud of the work her sister is carrying out for WINGS in the community. She wishes she herself had understood more about her options earlier. Due to lack of information, Irma had to learn the hard way about the importance of access to contraception.  However, the future does look different for Irma’s children. Her eldest son, now 32, has three children, but does not want more. He struggles to find stable employment and is considering permanent birth control methods. Irma’s 19 year old daughter is single and not in a hurry to have a family and Irma talks openly with her about family planning.

Irma told us that her husband once said to her, “if only someone had illuminated our minds earlier, our lives would have been very different.” Now, thanks to the help of her sister Etelvina and the provision of family planning services in their area, the lives of Irma’s children and countless others in the community will be different.Irma wishes she  had made a conscious and informed decision to plan her family earlier, but she is happy that she now knows so much about reproductive health. She is certain that she will encourage her family and friends to seek these family planning services, so every woman she knows can choose how many children to have, take ownership of their reproductive health, and have the opportunity to focus on their future.

WINGS offers reproductive health education and services such as cervical cancer screenings, short-term and long-term contraceptive methods, and permanent contraception. We envision a future where everyone in Guatemala can exercise their reproductive rights. Through education and service provision, every day we get closer to reaching this goal.


Our Field Supervisor Evelyn giving a talk about reproductive health


Etelvina looking after a baby

Etelvina looking after a baby while the patient is in our mobile clnic

Etelvina has been a volunteer family planning promoter at WINGS for 8 years. She started working with WINGS because she is passionate about supporting her community, Santo Tomás Milpas Altas, especially women who need guidance. When women have reproductive health concerns, Etelvina encourages them to take action and seek help, and counsels them so they feel less nervous about this very taboo topic. Etelvina has three kids; they are 12, 18, and 23 years old, two of which are part of WINGS’ Youth Program.

Etelvina shared that the public health center in her community is in very poor condition; it lacks resources and trained staff to provide accurate counseling. When women seek family planning services, the staff at the health center does not provide accurate or sufficient information prior to providing them a contraceptive method. That is why Etelvina takes matters into her own hands, and helps her community as much as she can.

As a volunteer promoter, Etelvina focuses on family planning services, specifically preventing unintended pregnancies and helping women space their pregnancies. Her main concern is that there are so many teenage pregnancies in Santo Tomás Milpas Altas, where it is common for 14-year-olds to already have one child. In the recent WINGS’ mobile clinic where we interviewed Etelvina, three 17-year-old girls attended, each already had children. Luckily, these teenagers chose long-acting reversible contraception, which will protect them from an unintended pregnancy for 5-10 years. Etelvina explained to them that not only were they impacting their own health, but also, they were choosing to benefit their community by controlling population growth in a place with very little resources.

Ladies at mobile clinic

As part of her role with WINGS, Etelvina coordinates several mobile clinics for her community each month. She encourages women to attend to undergo cervical cancer screening, as well as receive a long-term method. Many women have shown positive results in their screenings. Fortunately, these pre-cancerous cells have been detected in time and are treated on the spot with cryotherapy. Etelvina shared with us one woman´s case that always stuck in her memory; a 26-year-old woman who came for a screening and needed treatment beyond cryotherapy. Thanks to Etelvina’s follow up with this woman, we were able to coordinate chemotherapy sessions and cervix removal through another institution. To this day, Etelvina visits this patient to make sure she has fully recovered and is in good health. When asked why she thinks cervical cancer is the number one cause of cancer-related death in Guatemala, Etelvina knew the answer immediately; “Women in Guatemala are scared of going to the doctor for a check-up. These are conservative women, and they feel that the procedure is very invasive. They are also afraid that the result of a cervical cancer screening will be positive, so they would rather not know. I always tell them that if they get tested on time, there’s a solution and treatment for them.”

Etelvina is one of sixty volunteer family planning promoters that support WINGS in providing reproductive health services to those who could otherwise not access them. It is thanks to these great women that people in the most rural, remote areas get access to reproductive health services.

Etelvina and her family planning kit

Etelvina and her family planning kit

15 Stories 15 Anniversary

Lucas, 30 years old, came to our Antigua clinic in July. We held a Vasectomy Clinic, where 15 men showed up. We asked for a Q50 donation for this procedure, which is roughly $6. Since poverty is extremely high in Guatemala, we keep our prices as affordable as possible, so that the most marginalized people can access to our services. If someone cannot afford the service, WINGS covers the costs for them. When men arrive at our clinic during a Vasectomy Clinic day, they first get signed up, and then our Medical Director Michelle Dubón gives a talk to explain how the procedure works, along with the risks and benefits it has. After each man gets a vasectomy, they go to a oom where we provide them food and a place to recover.

Michelle gives talk before the Vasectomy Clinic

Medical Director Michelle Dubón gives a talk previous to the vasectomy procedure

Lucas has two children. He had his first child when he was only 20 years old. Lucas shares his experience; “I had my first child at 20 and he was unplanned. I knew that condoms existed, but I was too afraid to buy them or ask for them. Because of how taboo this topic is in Guatemala, I felt judged. Now, I’m not embarrassed to ask for a condom but I know young people definitely feel bad when they have to do that. “

When he was young, family planning and contraceptive use were not to be spoken of in his community and in the country in general. Lucas never got information from his parents or other family members, and when he tried to ask his teacher in school, the teacher would change the subject. Lucas explained to us: “I acquired information about sexual and reproductive health from other types of people who were probably not the best role models. I think it is very necessary to get this type of advice from someone who is trained to do so and who is knowledgeable”.  Lucas mentioned that despite technology being so advanced these days, and even  though more people have phones and internet now than ever before, nobody seeks reproductive health information. When asked why he thought people didn’t take the initiative to learn about their own bodies; he said that from a very young age, boys and girls are taught to feel guilty if they ask any questions related to sex. Lucas thinks the consequences of this can be seen in the high rates of teen pregnancies. He mentioned that nobody takes the time to talk to teenagers and explain what the changes in their bodies mean. Lucas has already started to talk with his little boy and with his nephews about reproductive health, so that they will never feel embarrassed to ask him anything.

Men Waiting For Vasectomy

Two men waiting in line to get vasectomies

When asked why he decided to get a vasectomy, Lucas shared that he made this decision because not only women should do it.

“Getting a vasectomy will make it easier for me and my wife. Even though there are contraceptive methods for my wife, I am happy she doesn’t have to use them anymore. We don’t want any more children, so this is the soundest decision.”  

His wife already had two C-sections and he thinks it’s unfair for her to undergo another surgery, even if it’s a simple procedure. Lucas’s family is very supportive of him, and many of his family members have gotten a vasectomy. However, his friends have given him a hard time about his decision. They think that after getting a vasectomy, a man won’t ejaculate, hence making him less manly. “There are so many myths! My friends have the idea that a vasectomy makes you less of a man, and their attitude is very disturbing. I do what I can to reduce their misunderstandings so that they will one day make the same decision I did.”

Lucas is grateful to WINGS because in Guatemala City, this procedure can be very expensive, and he is not financially stable enough to pay a huge amount of money. He tells us that even though he had to come from the city, WINGS made everything so easy; from the low price that he preferred without hesitation, to signing up in the clinic that morning, to hearing the doctor’s explanation, to the brief procedure, to the care he was provided afterward. Lucas shared his thoughts about WINGS’ work and he mentioned that WINGS is doing a huge service for communities in Guatemala, and that he wishes we could reach the entire country. Lucas voiced his faith in the organization; “I encourage you to keep on doing what you do. Go to as many communities as you can, reach out to all the teenagers and families who are lacking information. I know that you are going to change this country.” At WINGS, we are pleased to see that more and more men becoming involved and supporting their families by taking control of their reproductive health.



At WINGS, we believe the key to creating lasting change is empowering people at the local, community level. For this reason, we established our Voluntary Family Planning Promoter network back in 2006. Volunteer promoters are men and women who distribute low-cost short-term contraceptives and provide quality counseling and referrals to WINGS for additional services. As our promoters are locals, they have an intimate linguistic and cultural knowledge of the communities they serve. Currently, 60 women and men serve as WINGS´ volunteer promoters throughout 11 departments.

Lucy, 24 years old, was born in Santa María Cauqué, a small village located in southern Guatemala. She is one of five siblings, and her mother is a midwife. In Lucy´s community, health services are scarce, and as a result she helped with her first delivery when she was only 7. Though Lucy was exposed to reproductive health issues at a very early age, her family and teachers never taught her about her own reproductive and sexual health. When Lucy was sixteen, she had her first baby. She shared with us that at the time she felt like she was still a child herself, not ready to have a child of her own. With little to no money, Lucy worked hard as a farmer so she could make ends meet.


Lucy and her baby boy

One day a staff member from WINGS came to Lucy’s village to offer counseling and sexual education talks. “It is like she came into my life like a mother, to talk to me about all the things I had never learned”. From there, Lucy became very interested in working with WINGS, and was trained to become a family planning promoter. She said at first only her cousin came to her for a contraceptive method, but slowly, word traveled throughout the community and more women started to arrive. Now, Lucy has been with WINGS for six years and provides counseling and contraceptives to more than 250 women each month.

Lucy explains that her role in her community is crucial to many poor people who cannot afford health care in a private health facility. Many pregnancies in her community are the result of lack of means to pay for contraception. When discussing her role, Lucy mentions that she sees about 60 women per week. She has a form that she fills out for each of the women, to keep track of when they are due for their contraceptive method.


“Without even reading my forms, I always know when each of my patients needs her contraceptive method. I know all the ladies by name!”

Lucy feeding baby during talkPersonally, family planning has been challenging for Lucy. When she started working with WINGS, her husband and mother-in-law refused to accept that she only wanted to have two children. Her husband was raised in a family of many siblings, and he told her his mother had many kids, so she should do the same. At some point Lucy’s husband even told her that contraceptives were poisonous and that he would not give her permission to use them. Lucy’s mother-in-law said, “You are a woman; you have to keep as many children as God sends you”. Lucy bravely chose to use a Jadelle subdermal implant without her family knowing. She recalls what she felt making such a big decision; “I did it because I did not want to have the same life that my parents had, and for that I am proud. I can now say that I am in a much different situation than my parents were. There used to be so much ignorance, and now I feel like I’ve reached a very successful point.”

Lucy sees the change and successes in her community. Women never used to talk about family planning. Now, the majority of women ask Lucy when she’s coordinating the next mobile clinic, or when they can stop by for counseling. Now, many want to use long-acting reversible contraception, such as the IUD or the subdermal hormonal implant, which would have been unthinkable in the past.

When asked how working with WINGS has impacted her life, Lucy shared that before, she and her husband would not have been able to afford the most basic things such as water and electricity. That thanks to WINGS, she has an income of her own, which has empowered her in many ways. Together with her husband, she has saved up money to invest in the future of their children. Lucy is humbled by the trust her community places in her, but is most shocked by the change in her husband’s attitude. For a long time, he was reticent about anything that had to do with WINGS. Lucy shared with us that her husband apologized; “I am so sorry, because when you first wanted my support, I didn’t give you that. Now, you have been able to help yourself. You are free; you should do whatever you want to do. Support whomever you want to support. Fight.”

After six years with WINGS, Lucy is extremely happy to be making such a positive impact in her community and hopes to continue for years to come.

Lucy at her home

We are thrilled to invite you to join our Mother’s Day campaign!

We are now raising funds to establish our first permanent clinic in Antigua Guatemala, which will offer family planning information, contraceptive methods, and cervical cancer screening and treatment.

With your help, we will be able to save Guatemalan mothers’ lives – just follow the link below to find out more: