Project to promote healthy eating and with the necessary nutrients for pregnant women and children in the Peruvian community. (Photo: ADRA Peru)

South America

Adventists in the South American Division Host Over 28,000 Community Service Projects During 2022

Initiatives developed focused on improving the physical and mental health, economy, and quality of life of millions living in the region.

Brazil | Karol Lazo

Every year, the Seventh-day Adventist Church, through different social initiatives, demonstrates its commitment to serve the community. In addition to its efforts to fulfill the mission of bringing the message of salvation to all people, it also puts into practice Christ's method to help those in material, physical, and emotional need, changing the lives of millions of people.

According to reports generated by the departments of the South American Division, during 2022, more than 28,000 projects were carried out for the benefit of people in need. These initiatives are varied: Some are developed at the continental level, generating great impact on the population; others are adapted to the context of the country where they are carried out in order to help improve the lives of communities and create opportunities.

Solidarity Projects

In Peru, for example, in addition to projects that teach vulnerable populations to work on their income-generating skills or provide assistance and material resources, the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) built housing for people in rural areas. The project, called Casas Abrigadoras (“Sheltered Houses”), has helped many families in the Andean community of Japura, located 3,950 meters above sea level, to renovate their houses with solar energy and fireplaces to face the intense frosts, even improving the health of the population.

Mobile units are another one of ADRA's initiatives. They are vehicles equipped to offer different services free of charge, according to the needs of the population. These mobile units are equipped with kitchens, laundries, power generators to provide electricity in case of emergencies, water purifiers, and medical care services that vary according to the country where they are mobilized. The great advantage of these vehicles is they can travel to different communities.

Rogelia Quintana, one of the women who benefited from gynecological care from ADRA Paraguay's mobile unit. (Photo: Reproduction)

Rogelia Quintana, one of the women who benefited from gynecological care from ADRA Paraguay's mobile unit. (Photo: Reproduction)

In Paraguay, ADRA's mobile unit was inaugurated in 2022 and has already visited areas of poverty and difficult access in eight of the country's departments. It is multifunctional as it can be adapted to provide health talks, education, and medical, dental, and gynecological care in the form of an office, as well as medical supplies. Thanks to this service, more than 200 adult women who have never been to a hospital during their maternity period have received gynecological attention for the first time.

This is the case of Rogelia Quintana Ramos, from Colonia Tembiaporenda, who had nine children by natural childbirth with the help of midwives but never had routine complementary exams. "I am very happy with you and for your good attention as well. I am very grateful to the ADRA institution because this is the first time I have had a pap smear test, and I hope it will be successful because I have never had one before," commented Ramos after being seen at ADRA Paraguay's mobile unit.

In addition to these local projects, which are developed according to the reality of each country, the humanitarian agency also responds to emergencies and catastrophes such as earthquakes, floods, fires, etc., bringing financial, material, and professional resources to the affected areas to help the victims get back on their feet. In total, in 2022 alone, 1,112,541 people in 8 South American countries benefited from ADRA's actions.

Another ministry that has developed more projects to bring food and aid during 2022 is Adventist Solidarity Action (ASA), which has benefited more than half a million people. More Love at Easter and More Love at Christmas are initiatives of this department of the church that have become very significant and popular, as they are carried out in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, and Uruguay at the same time. Last year, more than 4.5 million kilograms of food were distributed free of charge during these holidays.

Help of All Kinds

Vida por Vidas is another one of the most recognized social commitment movements in South America. Promoted by the Adventist Church's Youth Ministry, this project involves young people as volunteers in the donation of blood and related products in hospitals and blood banks. It is carried out throughout the year but has its greatest mobilization during World Adventist Youth Day. In 2022, 146,410 people participated as donors through this initiative.

Group of young people ready to donate blood in Buenos Aires, Argentina. (Photo: Anabella Kos)

Group of young people ready to donate blood in Buenos Aires, Argentina. (Photo: Anabella Kos)

Additionally, to offer emotional support, there is the Oído Amigo project. This initiative was born during the COVID-19 pandemic, when thousands of people faced the consequences of social isolation, fear, anxiety, and depression. Led by the Women's Ministries of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, Oído Amigo brings together psychology professionals from eight countries in South America to offer free psychological care through digital consultations. During 2022, more than 2,000 psychologists participated in this project, providing strategies and resources to those facing different problems related to mental health and emotional well-being.

Promoting Solidarity

The Adventist Education Network, in addition to joining all the initiatives already mentioned, also promotes various actions to motivate students in its institutions to practice solidarity. Thus, administrators, teachers, and students from elementary level to higher education collected food, clothing, and hygiene items to donate to needy people in their communities.

With this, throughout 2022, they managed to donate more than 35,000 basic food baskets, more than 190,000 pieces of clothing, and more than 15,000 hygiene kits, which benefited 40,588 people in the countries of Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, and Uruguay, where the Adventist Education Network is present, making a difference.

For Pastor Stanley Arco, president of the South American Division, "Every project that the church develops, whether at the South American, regional, or local level, is done with love and dedication, demonstrating the commitment of every Adventist to serve their fellow men and women, following the example left by Jesus while He was on Earth. The help they have brought to vulnerable populations has not only improved the quality of life of millions of people, but has given them hope and faith to move forward."

All the initiatives Adventists developed last year demonstrate not only the solidarity of their institutions but also the commitment of thousands of people who dedicate their time and resources voluntarily to help their fellow humans, transmitting love and hope.

See all the data in the following infographic:

Credit: SAD

Credit: SAD

The original version of this story was posted on the South American Division Spanish-language news site.