The May 2017 EPES Update and Celebrating 35 Years…

Check out the full EPES Update here!

Message from the AHA President

Dear friends of EPES and AHA,

EPES is far from resting on its laurels in 2017, the 35th anniversary of its founding as a project of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Chile (IELCH).

Already this year they have delivered the eighth International Course on Popular Education in Health, (fondly referred to as la Escuela), bringing the total number of trainees since 2010 to 150 (from 19 countries). Talk about ripple effect—that has to be a major splash! The impact of the Escuela has been particularly strong in Kenya, where the Hope Foundation for African Women is replicating the EPES model after founder Grace Mose attended the Escuela in 2010 (followed by fiveothers in 2014).

Also in this Update, you can learn about EPES’ continuing activities in emergency response and advocacy for a tobacco-free Chile, as well as about an exciting healthy schools program that emerged from a 2016 EPES workshop, just to mention a few.

Finally, I draw your attention to the announcement of a benefit concert to mark EPES’ 35 years and thank the wonderful donors and supporters who have made it all possible. If you are anywhere near the Twin Cities on September 23, I hope you will join us in celebrating this remarkable journey we have been on together. If you can’t be there physically, we will hold you in our hearts with gratitude for all you have done to help EPES fulfil its mission to contribute to health, dignity and justice for the people of Chile.

In gratitude for your continuing solidarity,
Christina Mills MD FRCPC
President, Action for Health in the Americas

EPES Update May 2016: In-depth Focus on the Escuela Internacional

AHA is exMay2016UpdateCovercited to share this May’s EPES Update, a special edition that highlights the Escuela Internacional: EPES’ International Training Course that brings together participants from different countries with the common goal of leveraging EPES’ decades of participatory and community-based Escuela2016Mapmethodologies to empower the participants to bring those practices home. This past January, EPES hosted its 7th annual Escuela, bringing the total number of participants to 130 and countries represented to 18. For all of you who have supported EPES through donations over the past several years, you have helped make this all possible. Thank you again for your support and AHA hopes to continue to partner with you to ensure the Escuela Internacional and all of EPES’ other programming can continue well into the future. We hope that you’ll consider donating online using our secure form. AHA also accepts mailed donations via the address listed on our home page. ¡Muchas gracias!

 

 

 

The EPES December 2015 Update is here!

EPES Update December 2015

Dear Friends of EPES and AHA:

We hope you like the new format of the EPES Update! This version is more streamlined and has fewer “pieces” for you to keep track of—allowing you to focus on the amazing accomplishments and ongoing efforts of EPES and, hopefully, reminding you of how far your donations can go.

This past year has highlighted how valuable EPES’ work can be:

  • Leveraging their community-level disaster response and recovery capacity to work with victims of the September 2015 earthquake and tsunami—even while rebuilding from the April 2014 fire that devastated the poorest neighborhoods of Valparaíso continues.
  • Planning for the seventh International Training Course on Participatory and Community Strategies for Health—which will be held in January. Interest and participation in this annual course continue to grow every year. In the first six courses, there have been 110 participants from 15 countries. EPES’ training model is being replicated in many places in Latin America and all the way to Kenya!
  • Becoming a strong voice in Chile for health as a human right and mobilizing many organizations, communities and individuals to fight for this right.

In 2015, AHA has also sought to revamp our role as EPES’ advocates in North America. You’ll read about the exciting new #ChileTuesday campaign in this Update, but we’re also working to improve our website and provide more updates electronically—please share your email address with us if you haven’t done so already (either by noting it on the mailed donation form or when you make an online donation). We welcome your ideas for how AHA can continue to be a strong voice for EPES in 2016 and beyond!

As always, muchas gracias for your ongoing commitment to the work of EPES. In this world where there is so much suffering and need, we know that there are demands on your compassion (and pocketbook). Have a happy holiday season and a healthy and peaceful New Year!

Christina Mills MD FRCPC

President, Action for Health in the Americas

Click here to read about all the great work EPES has been up to in 2015!

In awe of EPES…plus the May 2015 Update is here!

 

May2015UpdateCoverHello friends of EPES and AHA!

Most of you haven’t heard from me before, but I thought I’d give Chris, our Board President, a break from writing a letter this time. As I was proofreading this EPES Update – specifically the article about EPES turning 33 – I got to thinking how absolutely amazing EPES is and felt the need to share those thoughts. While I’ve always known EPES is a year older than me, for some reason I was struck by the fact that I’m 32 and EPES is 33. It could be that now, as responsibilities in my life and career pile up, I can better appreciate what an incredible feat it is for these four women to have founded a grassroots organization in very challenging circumstances, grown it to what it is today, and still be so committed 33 years later. I’m in awe of them and all the others who have become a part of EPES since 1982.

I feel incredibly lucky to have met Karen 9 years ago and been introduced to the work of EPES, which led to me helping with the development of Action for Health in the Americas and later serving on the board. Since those of us on the board are volunteers, other responsibilities sometimes keep us from doing more, but something keeps us connected and committed to EPES even a continent away. I know the same goes for all of you. As AHA board secretary I keep the records for donations and know that many of you donate to EPES year after year (often multiple times a year) and see that your support is critical to EPES’s continued operations in Chile and has allowed us to spread their model beyond Chile.

If you’ve known EPES for a while – as most of you have – you can see how much has been accomplished when you read through this Update. I remember helping to write one of the first grant applications for the work EPES would do with tobacco control in Chile, and now EPES is presenting its accomplishments at a prominent international conference. The International Training Course now has over 110 graduates from 15 countries. And Llareta just celebrated its 30th anniversary.

Truly an inspiration to me, and hopefully, to all of you as well.

Thank you for your continued support!

Meghan Ochal

Secretary, Action for Health in the Americas Board

EPESUpdateMay2015

Gift the gift of EPES this holiday season!

Read about what EPES has been up to this year – your donations are what keeps this work going!

As another holiday season and the end of 2014 approaches, Action for Health in the Americas (AHA) is again seeking your support for the amazing work of Educación Popular en Salud (EPES). I am sure that as you read through the EPES Update, it will become apparent how critical EPES’ work has been not only in Chile but across the globe.

As you read about their work in fighting for stronger tobacco control policies or supporting community rebuilding in Valparaíso, you also may notice that EPES has been fortunate to have the support of larger organizations – such as the ELCA Global Mission, the ACT Alliance and the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. What you may not realize is how indispensable the donations that you make through AHA are to the overall sustainability of all EPES’ programs. While the support of these large funders is crucial, the funds are designated to specific projects. The undesignated general funds are essential to maintaining the core work EPES has done for 32 years to support the dignity and empowerment of women and families in Chile’s poorest communities, by training and working with health promoters. Your support is what keeps this work going.

Since AHA was founded almost a decade ago, we’ve annually supported a significant portion of EPES’ operating budget. For 2014, we have a goal of raising at least $100,000 to support EPES – and while your support throughout the year has brought us close to our goal, we still have $35,000 to go.

I and the rest of the AHA board have faith that we can meet this goal by December 31st! A generous board member has agreed to match up to $10,000 for donations received from now until the end of the year, and in our experience, supporters like you recognize how much your donation makes a difference in keeping EPES going, and consistently and generously give your support. We also hope you’ll consider giving the “gift of EPES” this holiday season – make a donation in a loved one’s name and we will gladly send them a holiday card on your behalf.

As always – thank you, thank you, thank you and gracias, gracias, gracias! On behalf of all of us at AHA and EPES, I wish you a joyful Christmas and a peaceful and happy new year.

Christina Mills MD FRCPC
President, Action for Health in the Americas

EPES Dec 2014 Update cover

The Summer 2014 EPES Update is here!

EPES Update June 2014 Cover

Read the June 2014 EPES Update (many of you will be receiving the Update in the mail this week – if you’d like to be on AHA’s Mailing List, please let us know by emailing AHABoard@gmail.com!)

Dear Friend,

As you look forward to summer vacation, it is fall in Chile and EPES’ plate is decidedly brimming over.

EPES’ 5th International Training Course on Popular Health proved that language and culture are not barriers when it comes to the yearning for change. The six women from Kenya and one from Uganda who traveled to Chile in January with the Hope Foundation for African Women (HFAW) acquired the tools for applying the EPES model for empowerment in health in their communities.

They also formed bonds of friendship with the Chilean health promoters who traveled the same road years ago. Ever since she participated in the first health education training school in 2010, HFAW director Dr. Grace Mose had dreamed of bringing the EPES methodology to Kenya.  As you will see in the inspiring photos of the first training sessions in Kenya, EPES has truly crossed an ocean and a continent.

On April 12th, a fierce fire devastated low-income neighborhoods of the hilly port city of Valparaíso, reducing 3,000 houses to ashes and leaving 12,000 people homeless. On Cerro Las Cañas—the area hardest hit by the blaze—a community center, run by an EPES Popular Health Training course graduate, is one of few buildings left standing, and has become the hub of emergency response activity.  Within days, EPES staff was on the scene and determined that the situation called for the post-disaster program pioneered in Concepción in response to the earthquake four years ago. EPES pledged to help improve 300 emergency houses (the government is issuing the same leaky wood-frame dwellings it gave people in Concepción) and set in motion the Comfort for Kids psychosocial program to enable children to overcome trauma, while empowering women as leaders with the capacity to advocate for their rights.

A year after Chile became a smoke-free nation (March 1, 2013), the Inter American Heart Foundation  awarded the Chile Libre de Tabaco (Tobacco Free Chile) coalition, spearheaded by EPES, for its exemplary work organizing the lobbying efforts that won passage of the landmark tobacco law. EPES health promoters are keeping track of tobacco law compliance, and at least in Concepción, they were heartened to find 75% compliance. The law represents a major breakthrough for public health of future generations in this country where 40% are smokers.

We hope you enjoy reading details about these and other activities in the enclosed UpdateWe are so grateful for your continuing support which is an investment in real, concrete change in the lives of so many people and communities.

With Peace and Hope,

Christina Mills, MD FRCPC

President, Action for Health in the Americas

 

To give to EPES, donate online or send your tax-deductible contribution to:

Action for Health in the Americas

c/o Prince of Peace Lutheran Church

4 Northcrest Drive

Clifton Park, NY 12065-2744

Make checks payable to “Action for Health in the Americas”

What has EPES been up to in 2013?

What a busy year 2013 has been! Take a look at the most recent EPES Update to learn more, but this past January, EPES graduated its 80th participant in the International Training Course on Popular Health. It seems like only yesterday that the EPES International Training School — developed in order to spread the methods and philosophy of EPES throughout and beyond Chile — was only a great idea. But 2013 marked the fourth year of this innovative activity. On top of that, EPES is hard at work planning its fifth International Training Course — which will take place in Kenya in early 2014. Who could have thought that when the first course was being developed that EPES would soon be crossing borders and physically spreading its methods on a whole new continent?!

Participants from the 2013 EPES International Training Course on Popular Health

Participants from the 2013 EPES International Training Course on Popular Health

Even with this global endeavor, EPES continues its ongoing work and is beginning new activities in Chile. One of the new initiatives should be of interest to AHA’s North American friends since it addresses a critical public health issue that we are well aware of in our communities — obesity. Did you know that as of this year, Chile has the 9th highest obesity rate among all countries in the world, according to the World Health Organization? To tackle this emerging obesity epidemic in the communities it partners with, EPES is implementing a nutrition and cooking workshop for women within the larger framework of gender and society. Given that obesity has continued to rise in other countries and communities despite efforts to counter it, we are very anxious to see if this approach proves more fruitful.

As you can see from the Update, EPES is constantly developing new ways to promote health and dignity in Chile and the world in an ever-changing environment. With the generous support of AHA supporters, this is possible!

Give the Gift of EPES

Give an EPES Gift this Holiday Season

This holiday season, give friends and family the gift of an EPES project. Make a donation
and your loved one will receive a card thanking them for the donation made in his or her
honor. He or she will be delighted that their gift helped to train a Chilean woman to teach
her community proper nutrition, created a mural – or whichever project you choose!

EPES Featured 2013 Projects
(Total Cost in US$ – donations can completely or partially support a project)

1.  Printing of 500 pamphlets about importance of breast cancer screening ($60)

2. One day-long training session on a key health topic with 20 community health
promoters ($100)

3. Creation of a mural in a poor community that will raise awareness about good
nutrition, violence against women, HIV/AIDS, and other vital topics ($100)

4. Training program to prepare 20 community health and nutrition promoters
(12 sessions at $400 each = $4,800)

5. Scholarship for one woman to participate in nutrition promoter training ($250)

6. Scholarship to participate in 2013 EPES International Training School ($1,000 for
one Chilean student; $2,200 for one international student)

7. Two-week training in Kenya with the Hope African Women’s Foundation to train
community health promoters in rural Kenya ($15,000)

8. EPES General Fund (which supports the above as well as many other activities!)



To make a donation by regular mail:

1. Print out  this Mail-in Donation Form.

2.Choose record the amount you would like to donate and which featured 2013 EPES project your donation will support (wholly or in part!) on the donation form
– If no project is selected, your donation will support the EPES general fund.

3. Provide the name of the person you are honoring.

4. Mail your donation enclosing the Donation form to AHA

5. Print out this Honor Card

6.  fill out the gift card and send it to the person(s) you are honoring

To donate online* go to the AHA electronic donation page HERE

1. Choose a donation amount.

2. Use the “Comments” section on the donation page to specify the project (from the list above) and honoree name & address.

3. Email this e-card to the person you are honoring